Republican lawmakers rolling out state anti-transgender bills
Activists warned that Republican lawmakers are pushing state anti-transgender bills with the help of conservative advocacy groups.
These proposed bills in several states are targeting transgender young people, from preventing them to get medical treatment to barring them from participating in school sports teams.
Other bills include repealing nondiscrimination protections, legalizing conversion therapy, and barring transgender youth from bathrooms and locker rooms.
State anti-transgender bills to bring harm
One type of bill would prevent doctors from providing transgender youth with gender-related medical treatment. Another would bar transgender students from taking part in sports in the gender they identify with.
Chase Strangio, a transgender-rights lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), said these bills, if enacted, “would bring devastating harms to the transgender community.”
For example, he said, the bills pushing the medical ban in Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and South Dakota could trigger suicides among transgender young people who want to undergo gender transition.
Gender-reassignment treatments being targeted include performing operations or administering hormone therapy. Doctors that allow this could face their license being revoked or even felony charges.
Meanwhile, parents that would allow the treatments could be reported to the child welfare agencies for child abuse.
Stragio, who is a transgender man, said: “I cannot imagine what happens to transgender people if these criminal bans pass. I don’t think we can possibly raise the alarm enough, because people are going to die.”
Conservatives backing state anti-transgender bills
Several groups identified as conservative have endorsed these bills, like the Alliance Defending Freedom and Eagle Forum.
“We’ve got lots of legislators working on this. We don’t let this happen to children,” said Gayle Ruzicka, a member of the Eagle Forum’s Utah chapter
Utah Republican Rep. Brad Daw, who is drafting one such bill, said: “We want to do what we think is reasonable practice, which is put off that kind of one-way ticket decision until the youth is an adult
Meanwhile, the Alliance Defending Freedom wants to prevent transgender girls from competing with other girls in high school sports.
“Forcing female athletes to compete against biological males isn’t fair and destroys their athletic opportunities,” said attorney Matt Sharp, the ADF’s state government relations director.
There are bills like these pending in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Missouri, New Hampshire, Tennessee, Idaho, and the Washington state, said the ACLU.
Groups fighting back against these bills
A number of national women’s rights and sports organizations warned that barring transgender people from sports teams aligned with their gender identity means that they are “excluded from participating altogether.”
Dr. Alexis Chavez, a transgender psychiatrist and medical director of The Trevor Project, a national suicide-prevention group, that said these bills would deprive transgender youth from life-saving treatment
“They would force doctors to make an untenable decision and could result in their imprisonment for providing best-practice medical care,” Chavez said.
Meanwhile, Troy Williams of Equality Utah warned that the sentiment being pushed by these bills should be concerning to state leaders that want to bring their states’ suicide rates.
The American Academy of Pediatrics and other professional groups have previously recommended a gender-affirming approach if needed to protect the health and rights of transgender children.