New York urged to ban travel to Arkansas over ‘dangerous’ attacks on trans kids

Gay politician: New York must back trans kids and ban travel to Arkansas

New York should ban travel to Arkansas after it passed two anti-trans bills, a gay Democrat has urged.

New York State Assembly member Daniel O’Donnell, one of the few openly gay politicians in the state, has called on governor Andrew Cuomo to ban non-essential travel to Arkansas after it passed two “dangerous and harmful” laws that ban healthcare for trans kids, and trans girls from competing in school sports.

In a 16 April letter, O’Donnell reminded Cuomo that New York has previously passed “non-essential state travel bans” when North Carolina, Indiana and Mississippi passed anti-trans legislation.

“We must continue to show that we do not accept hate in any state, and that we will do whatever it takes to ensure transgender Americans are protected,” O’Donnell wrote.

“It is frustrating and heartbreaking that we have to call for and impose yet another travel ban in response to yet another state enacting dangerous and harmful anti-trans legislation. Yet we must remain firm in standing up for our trans siblings across this country when their lives and dignity fall under threat from hate, no matter how many times we have to speak out.”

In March, Arkansas became the first US state to ban medical professionals from providing gender-affirming healthcare to trans minors, although other states have bills pending which would do the same.

The ban, which has been described as “the single most extreme anti-trans law to ever pass through a state legislature”, is set to take effect this summer.

It provides no exemption for teens already receiving gender-affirming care, leaving the families of trans kids desperate.

Some are considering moving out of state, while others who can’t afford to leave are trying to work out how to cross state lines to access expensive medication and care. One Arkansas doctor reported a spike in trans teenagers attempting suicide in the wake of the anti-trans bill passing.

Also in March, Arkansas was the second state to sign into law a ban targeting trans athletes who want to compete as their correct gender.

The ban applies to all trans students, including at elementary, middle and high schools, as well as in colleges.

O’Donnell, who was one of two politicians behind New York’s ban last year on “gay or trans panic” defenses in murder cases, added: “It is not an exaggeration to say that this legislation will put the lives of TGNC youth in Arkansas at risk, restricting access to medical care and exacerbating existing discrimination, trauma, and bias against the transgender community.”