LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A bill to hold health care professionals accountable if a child’s gender transition results in harm passed through committee Monday with only one dissenting vote.
The bill, sponsored by State Sen. Gary Stubblefield (R), would hold health care professionals liable if their gender transition treatment given to minors results in any damages—physical, psychological or emotional. It would give minors up to 30 years to pursue a civil suit.
“We don’t have enough data now to even know what the outcomes of many of these operations bring forth,” Stubblefield said.
This is just one of several trans-related bills sponsored by Stubblefield.
“While it’s possible to identify as anything, it’s not possible for a man to become a woman or a woman to become a man,” Stubblefield said in committee.
State Senator Clarke Tucker (D) was the lone dissenting vote, and he pointed out that “castration” or “mutilation” is not happening to Arkansas kids.
“There’s not one case in Arkansas history I’m aware of nor could anybody point to today,” Tucker said.
Of the 13 members of the public who spoke in committee, 12 were against the bill, including several trans Arkansans.
Gwendolyn Herzig owns Park West Pharmacy, which offers services to the LGBTQ community. She said she was not surprised by the vote but was still very disheartened by the entire meeting, including a moment when State Sen. Matt McKee asked about her genitalia.
Herzig said in moments like that, it is easy to forget about the strides trans Arkansans have made.
“Even though it might feel like we’re taking four steps forward and three steps back, it’s still one step forward,” Herzig said.
The bill will now advance through the normal legislative process.