Sarah Huckabee Sanders signs Arkansas bill restricting toilet use for trans students

Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Arkansas’ Republican governor, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, has signed a law that bans trans school children from using toilets that match their chosen gender identity.

Affecting public schools across the state, the bill, signed Tuesday (21 March), makes Arkansas the fourth state in the US to place anti-trans bathroom laws on students.

Despite the law not taking full effect until the summer, the ban will outlaw trans students from using facilities such as multi-person bathrooms and changing rooms from kindergarten to the 12th grade.

Known as bathroom bills, similar legislation is being used across the US.

Sanders’ spokeswoman, Alexa Henning, said: “The governor [former president Trump’s press secretary] has said she will sign laws that focus on protecting and educating our kids, not indoctrinating them, and believes our schools are no place for the radical left’s woke agenda.

 “Arkansas isn’t going to rewrite the rules of biology just to please a handful of far-left advocates.”

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It comes shortly after Sanders signed a bill permitting children under the age of 16 to work in the state.

Opponents of the law said it singled out transgender students and underlines the state’s dislike towards the trans and wider LGBTQ+ communities.

Paul Castillo, senior counsel and students’ rights strategist for LGBTQ+ right organisation Lambda Legal, said: “The entire school population suffers as a result of these types of bills, particularly schools and teachers and administrators who are dealing with real problems and need to focus on creating a welcome environment for every student.

“They’re singling out transgender people for no other reason than dislike, disapproval and misunderstanding of who transgender youth are.”

Arkansas’ new cruel anti-trans bathroom bill is nothing new

With the number of similar bills plaguing numerous states reaching into the hundreds, trans people are being denied basic needs.

A young trans girl in South Dakota pretended to have a broken arm and hand in 2022 because of an anti-trans bathroom policy, according to her father.

Mike Phelan told PinkNews that his family was especially active in fighting a bill that would have banned trans youth from using the correct toilets at schools in South Dakota. The bill was eventually killed in February 2022, after an all-Republican committee struck it down.

Last year, Republican governor Kevin Stitt signed a bill into law that bans trans students in Oklahoma from using toilets that match their gender identity.