By James Cohen
Boston, MA, April 7, 2021 –
Keshet’s President & CEO, Idit Klein, issued the following statement on the passage of a state law that bans gender-affirming health care for trans youth in Arkansas.
We are horrified and heartbroken by the ban on gender-affirming care – the first of its kind in the nation – that was voted into law yesterday by the Arkansas state legislature.
This ban violates the highest value in Jewish tradition – pikuach nefesh, the principle that the preservation of human life matters above virtually all else. And make no mistake: people will die because of this law. Health care that honors people’s dignity is not just life affirming but often life-saving. We know from countless conversations with trans and non-binary young people that gender-affirming health care can be a matter of life or death.
The Arkansas law sets a terrifying precedent for the more than 100 anti-transgender bills pending in legislatures across the country. We call on Jewish community members nationwide to take action to defeat these hateful bills. We all should heed the words of our friend, Rabbi Barry Block of Congregation B’nai Israel in Little Rock: “This heinous law will bring untold harm to vulnerable transgender youth and is a stain on the Natural State. This law dishonors G-d’s wondrous creation of people with a full spectrum of gender identities beginning at a young age.”
To our trans and non-binary young people in Arkansas and across the country: Know that we see you, we hear you, we are here for you, and we will never, never stop fighting for you.
Keshet will continue to call on the Jewish community to stand up for LGBTQ justice and support the safety and dignity of trans and non-binary youth.