Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders has signed a law restricting transgender individuals from using the public school restroom that matches their gender identity. This move makes Arkansas the fourth state to enact such restrictions and the first of several expected to pass such bans this year. The law will take effect later this summer, and it applies to multi-person restrooms and locker rooms at public schools and charter schools serving prekindergarten through 12th grade. The legislation comes amid a surge of bills nationwide targeting the trans community.
Many states have filed proposals to limit or ban gender-affirming care for minors, ban transgender girls from school sports, and restrict drag shows. Transgender people are facing increasingly hostile rhetoric at statehouses, and Arkansas has proposed a bill that imposes criminal penalties for using public restrooms. The bill is expected to allow someone to be charged with a misdemeanor sexual indecency with a child if they use a public restroom or changing room of the opposite sex when a minor is present. The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas has criticized the bill, stating that it refuses to respect the rights and humanity of transgender people and Arkansans.