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Arkansas House Committee passes amended version of Given Name Act

By Andrew Epperson,


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A House committee passed an amended version of a bill that would allow public school teachers to refuse to use students’ preferred pronouns. The Given Name Act was amended to clear up language about who this would impact.

“The Bible teaches us not to participate in that,” lead sponsor State Rep. Wayne Long said. “It basically just protects me or a teacher who feels that way.”

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Ethan Avanzino testified against the bill in committee. He said he presented as a woman during school but always knew he was a trans man.

“I knew who I was back then,” Avanzino said. “These trans kids know who they are, and when we’re saying we’re not going to respect your name or your pronouns, that’s a detriment to those kids.”

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Long said some teachers do not want to use students’ preferred pronouns for religious reasons and worry they will lose their jobs.

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