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Tipsheet

Arkansas Restricts Transgender Students From Using School Restrooms Aligning With Their ‘Gender Identity’

AP Photo/Will Newton

On Tuesday, Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R) signed a bill into law that requires students who identify as transgender to use restrooms that align with their biological sex instead of their “gender identity.”

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The legislation covers restrooms, locker rooms, showers, and any other school changing facilities at public and charter schools, kindergarten through high school. If it is discovered that a school is not abiding by the law, superintendents, teachers and principals will be fined a minimum of $1,000. Arkansas is the fourth state to place these kinds of restrictions on school restrooms and locker rooms, just like Tennessee, Oklahoma, Alabama.

“The Governor 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,” Alexa Henning, a spokesperson for Sanders, said in a statement to the Associated Press. “Arkansas isn’t going to rewrite the rules of biology just to please a handful of far-left advocates.”

Arkansas state Rep. Mary Bentley, a Republican, said in a statement that “the fight in our culture now is ‘not between right and wrong, it’s between crazy and normal.’”

“Thankfully Arkansans have overwhelmingly elected legislators who want to restore normal in our schools. HB1156 will simply require students to use the bathroom that aligns with their sex at birth or use a private bathroom made available to them,” she said.

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The legislation comes after several reports of biological males who identify as transgender using women’s facilities. This month, House Republicans introduced H.R. 5, known as the “Parents Bill of Rights,” to protect parental involvement in education. At the United States Capitol, a father named Scott Smith issued remarks about how his daughter was sexually assaulted in a school bathroom by “a boy wearing a skirt.” 

“I went to the school board meeting to speak up for my daughter and to get some answers that we deserved. Instead of putting her safety and the safety of other students first, the Loudoun County school board tried to hide the facts and protect their administrators at all costs. We now know that three girls were attacked by the same now-convicted sexual predator,” Smith shared with lawmakers.

Last month, female athletes appeared on Capitol hill on National Women and Girls in Sports Day to introduce legislation which would strengthen Title IX protections and prohibit “sex” from encompassing “gender identity.”

Riley Gaines, a former swimmer for the University of Kentucky, competed against transgender swimmer Will “Lia” Thomas. The two tied at the NCAA championships in 2022. In a panel discussion in the U.S. Capitol, Gaines teared up when she explained that female athletes were being forced to share locker rooms with transgender athletes. On top of that, schools were urging female athletes to seek counseling and other resources if they had concerns about sharing the locker rooms.

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“No one asked us how we felt [about sharing a locker room]. We exist to validate a male’s identity,” Gaines said. “It is just so wild that you can turn around [in a locker room] and see a 6’4 biological man pull his pants down watching you undress. And no one is willing to stick up for you?”

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