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California has added Arkansas, Florida, Montana, North Dakota, and West Virginia to a list of states where state-funded travel is banned due to discriminatory laws against the LGBTQ community, CNN reports.
These latest states were included for passing legislation which targets transgender people, most recently laws that prevent trans women and girls from competing in women’s sports. California Attorney General Rob Bonta called out these states Monday over laws that “directly work to ban transgender youth from playing sports, block access to life-saving care, or otherwise limit the rights of members of the LGBTQ+ community.”
“Rather than focusing on solving real issues, some politicians think it’s in their best interest to demonize trans youth and block life-saving care,” Bonta said, per The Hill. “Make no mistake: We’re in the midst of an unprecedented wave of bigotry and discrimination in this country — and the State of California is not going to support it.”
In April, Arkansas became the first state to ban gender-affirming health care for transgender minors. The Save Adolescents From Experimentation Act, or SAFE Act, was placed on the desk of Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who vetoed the bill, citing a “vast government overreach.” However, the House and Senate voted to override his veto.
“My own personal view that this is too extreme, it was too broad and did not grandfather in those young people who are currently under hormone treatment,” Hutchinson told NPR. “This puts a very vulnerable population in a more difficult position,” adding, “It sends the wrong signal to them.”
CNN notes that Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt responded to California’s travel ban by issuing an executive order last year that prohibited state employees from “all non-essential travel” to The Golden State.
Alabama, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas are the other 12 states under California’s travel ban.