SOTU: Human Rights Campaign Condemns Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders for Demonizing Transgender People

WASHINGTON, D.C. - February 7, 2023 - Tonight, shortly after President Joe Biden delivered his State of the Union Address, Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders delivered the Republican response and used her platform to demonize transgender and non-binary people, an already marginalized population under attack in Huckabee Sanders' home state and across the country.

In a statement released tonight, Human Rights Campaign President Kelley Robinson condemned Huckabee Sanders:

"Tonight, Sarah Huckabee Sanders picked up right where she left off as Donald Trump's Press Secretary. Just as she's been doing in her brief tenure as Governor of Arkansas, she used her moment in the spotlight to spread dangerous misinformation, lie to the American people, and remind all of us what will happen if Republicans take back the White House next year. It's just plain despicable that she used her platform tonight to sow division by demonizing the LGBTQ+ community, especially transgender and non-binary people.

"Transgender kids just want to grow up feeling loved, respected, and valued for who they are. But politicians like Gov. Huckabee Sanders are making that nearly impossible with their neverending attacks on these kids. The American people deserve better than the dangerous vision the Governor outlined tonight. We have real needs, like passing national LGBTQ+ nondiscrimination protections in the Equality Act, protecting voting rights, taking on police brutality, and bringing back abortion access nationwide. We are going to continue doing everything we can to fight politicians like Gov. Huckabee Sanders and the destructive policies they want to impose on the rest of us."

The Arkansas Senate is expected to soon send Huckabee Sanders a bill to prohibit transgender students from using public school restrooms consistent with their gender identity. A record number of 315 anti-LGBTQ+ bills were filed in statehouses across the United States last year, largely focused on denying transgender youth the ability to receive gender-affirming care and participate in school athletics programs, with even more expected to be filed in 2023. Arkansas and Alabama have passed such laws and both are currently stayed pending the conclusion of litigation challenging them; an executive action in Texas is similarly stayed. Utah was the first state in 2023 to pass a law preventing gender-affirming care, with Mississippi poised to become the second this year and fourth law overall. These bills are extreme, rooted in misinformation and lies about gender-affirming care, and are contrary to medical best practices.

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The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ+ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

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