FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – Senate Bill 354 banned transgender women and girls from competing in school sports consistent with their gender identity. This made Arkansas the second state to pass legislation like this and it came following objections from medical and child welfare organizations. Another organization that’s been vocal about how upset it is with the bill is Experience Fayetteville.
“What we are seeing from not just one bill but numerous bills are calls for boycott,” says CEO of Experience Fayetteville, Molly Rawn.
Rawn says the effects of Senate Bill 354 have already been apparent.
“We have seen calls for cancelations of the 2022 Cyclocross World Championships coming to Fayetteville in January, this will have a negative overall impact on the tourism industry,” says Rawn.
Jessica Farber is a member of the LGBTQ+ community who played sports in Northwest Arkansas from high school all the way through college. She agrees this is going to hurt tourism and the overall image of the state.
“I have several trans friends who don’t live in Arkansas who were hoping to come to visit me when the pandemic is over and they do not feel safe, they’re not coming,” says Farber.
In a statement from gov. Hutchinson’s office on Senate Bill 354, he says law simply states female athletes should not have to compete in a sport against a student of the male sex when the sport is designed for women’s competition.