Father of trans teen arrested and jailed for testifying against cruel trans healthcare ban
A father of a trans teen was arrested and jailed after they dared to testify against Arkansas’ cruel ban on healthcare for transgender minors.
Chris Attig was escorted out of the Arkansas House of Representatives and taken to a nearby jail on 9 March after they urged lawmakers to ditch plans to outlaw puberty blockers and hormone treatment for trans minors in the state.
Attig, who is a parent to a 22-year-old trans son, was one of a number of people who offered testimony to the Arkansas House of Representatives in March before legislators forced the bill through in April.
But all hell broke loose when Attig went over by 30 seconds in their allotted speaking time.
Attig uploaded a video recording of their speech – and their subsequent removal from the House – to YouTube.
The proud parent kicked off their speech by directly addressing transgender youth, telling them that they are loved “no matter what happens”.
Attig continued: “I come here today knowing full well that nothing I say will persuade this committee. You’re hellbent on passing this bill and running it through the rest of the legislature. You know that this bill is unconstitutional and will not survive federal courts.”
Attig told lawmakers that their anti-trans bill was unconstitutional and that it will “stagnate” the state’s economy.
“As a business owner who pays tens of thousands of dollars in taxes to this state and who employs transgender workers, I am offended that you would squander our limited taxpayer resources paying lawyers to defend this infantile nonsense in federal court,” Attig said, before telling lawmakers that there are “more genders” than they will ever understand.
But just two minutes in, Attig was told by State Representative Jack Ladyman that their times was up. The lawmaker repeated his order a second time before Attig’s microphone was cut off.
“You had two minutes like everybody else, your time is up sir. Thank you for your comments,” Ladyman said.
Chris Attig was charged with disorderly conduct for speaking out against Arkansas’ trans healthcare ban
Attig told them that they were subsequently taken to jail in a police car where they were charged with disorderly conduct. They were finally released after spending several hours in jail.
To make matters worse, Attig said that anti-LGBT+ groups like the Family Research Council and the Alliance Defending Freedom were allowed to speak for as long as 40 minutes – while speakers who opposed the legislation were ordered to keep to their allotted time.
“It was just shocking sitting there in jail thinking that this is what happens when you speak to people about how their proposed laws are affecting your children,” Attig told them.
“They don’t want to hear it. They put you in jail.”
While the discriminatory legislation won’t directly affect their trans son, Attig said the bill – and other anti-LGBT+ laws being advanced in the state legislature – send a clear message that “it is OK to bully and persecute people who are trans”.
“It says, ‘The legislature is doing it, why can’t I?'” Attig explained.
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House Bill 1570 prohibits healthcare professionals from providing gender-affirming care to trans minors in the state of Arkansas.
The legislation first passed through the House of Representatives and the Senate in March before making its way to Governor Asa Hutchinson’s desk.
However, in a surprising turn of events, Hutchinson opted to veto the bill, describing it as “vast government overreach”.
Despite Hutchinson’s history-making intervention, lawmakers subsequently voted to override his veto and forced the bill into law.
The bill is just one of a large number of anti-LGBT+ laws currently making their way through state legislatures in the US.
The Human Rights Campaign said on Tuesday (27 April) that there are currently 250 anti-LGBT+ bills making their way through legislatures, 124 of which directly target trans people.