FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — People in Northwest Arkansas gathered Wednesday in Fayetteville to protest SB270. The bill would criminalize adults who knowingly remain in a bathroom that doesn’t align with their sex assigned at birth if a child is present.
The rally was held at the Washington County Courthouse and was hosted by Intransitive. The group works across the state to advance the cause of trans liberation. Maximiliano Calabotta is a development coordinator for the organization. He said he feels like the bill is an attack against transgender people.
State Rep. Cindy Crawford co-sponsored the legislation. She said it’s not targeted toward the trans community and is not about the trans community. It’s meant to protect children.
“When we have all of this transgender stuff going on around us, and people can go into a bathroom that they want to go in, then perverted men take advantage of that,” Crawford said.
The legislation would only impact adults of the opposite sex who knowingly enter the bathroom and remain there. She said this bill won’t affect the trans community at all unless there is a child when they walk into the restroom.
The legislation text lists a few exceptions to the law.
- someone assisting their child under the age of seven
- a maintenance or inspection worker
- to render medical assistance
- to provide assistance
- law enforcement accompanying a person of the opposite sex
Calabotta said transgender people are already harassed, and he’s worried SB270 will make it worse, especially when faced with the possibility of arrest on a misdemeanor charge.
“There are way more of us than you think there are, and they would all be impacted by this bill,” Calabotta said.
The rally also protested the LEARNS bill that was signed into law Wednesday, specifically a part of the law that would restrict all sex education in schools until fifth grade. Calabotta said youth deserve to understand their bodies and deserve to be represented in the classroom.
While KNWA/FOX24 wasn’t able to ask legislators about their thoughts on that specific element of the LEARNS Act, Crawford said she’s grateful the bill was signed into law and what it will mean for Arkansas.
“We’ve been screaming for years that our kids are not getting the education that they deserve and that they need, and so this puts us there,” Crawford said.