Mississippians react to Arkansas’ ban on gender-affirming care for transgender minors

Published: Jun. 22, 2023 at 8:35 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - It’s been four months since Mississippi’s ban on gender affirming care for transgender minors took effect. But the issue is back in headlines in another Southern state this week.

Arkansas was the first state to pass this kind of ban on gender affirming care for minors. That was back in 2021.

Tuesday, a federal judge ruled it unconstitutional. Since it’s similar to Mississippi’s law, we wanted to see what those who pushed back on the legislation are saying about the ruling.

”We’re gonna call the shots as a family, but basically, the legislature and, you know, took that, that right from us,” said Clint Faulkner. “And it’s just to me, I mean, what’s next? What happens next? Are they going to reverse our name change?”

Clint Faulkner’s 15-year-old transgender son Ace hadn’t started any kind of gender-affirming care when the Governor signed House Bill 1125 into law.

As a family, they’d discussed it and said they’d revisit it when he turned 16.

“Now, we don’t have the right to decide what steps we might be able to take,” added Faulkner.

This week’s decision by the federal judge to strike down the similar law in Arkansas is getting mixed reaction from families and advocates.

“It does give me hope, because it made me think, Okay, well, there are judges in place, that are like me that are looking at the law as the law and not as politics. You know, it’s really, I mean, it’s, to me, it’s just an intrusion.”

Others are cautiously optimistic.

“I want to say that this injunction against Arkansas bill is really revitalizing and it provides hope...and maybe a sliver, let’s just say a little bit, a little sliver,” noted The TRANS Program Executive Director Jensen Luke Matar. “Mississippi, unfortunately, has fallen, you know, at the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to a lot of LGBTQ protections, and inclusions.”

Advocates say that pattern of Mississippi politicians has been frustrating.

“This past session, we had 31 bills, which targeted the LGBTQ plus community,” added Rob Hill, Human Rights Campaign’s Mississippi State Director. “Only one passed, and it was the the ban on transgender, gender affirming care. It was the one that I feared the most because I know how it will impact families. This is life saving care. That is medically approved.”

“But we’re fighters,” noted Matar. “We are fighters. If you look back at LGBTQ history, we are fighters.”

Thus far, there has not been a legal challenge filed against Mississippi’s law.

Want more WLBT news in your inbox? Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.

See a spelling or grammar error in our story? Please click here to report it and include the headline of the story in your email.