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31 anti-transgender bills filed in 20 states as GOP targets schoolchildren nationwide

Transgender flag being waved in a crowd
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At least 20 states are currently considering at least 31 bills that would attack the rights of transgender people – mostly attacking transgender youth – as more state lawmakers file bills to tear away as the limited rights and protections that currently exist for transgender people.

Georgia Rep. Philip Singleton (R) filed a bill yesterday that makes the state the seventeenth in the nation to consider a bill that would ban transgender girls and women from competing in school sports as their gender.

Related: Idaho passed 2 anti-transgender laws during the pandemic. It’s getting sued for both of them.

“I just feel like in the time that we’re in right now — in a global pandemic — we’re going into our second year of being in lockdown and our elected officials have nothing to do other than worry about what’s in someone’s underpants,” said Jen Slipakoff, the mother of a 13-year-old transgender student-athlete in Georgia.

Arizona, Connecticut, Iowa, Georgia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas are all considering bills that would ban transgender girls and women from school sports this year. Some of the bills also ban transgender boys and men from competing as their gender as well.

“You can’t claim to be supporting women’s sports when you’re trying to isolate transgender girls from sports,” said Shannon Clawson of Georgia Equality. “You’re attacking and further isolating transgender youth and keeping them from participating in sports that would allow them to learn very important principles about leadership and teamwork.”

Eleven states are also considering bills that would ban gender-affirming care for transgender minors, even attacking puberty blockers, which must be taken before a person is an adult in order to be effective.

Arizona’s S.B. 1511 is one such bill. If the bill passes, any health care professional who prescribes puberty blockers to a transgender patient will be committing a class 2 felony with a recommended sentence of up to 12 and a half years in prison, just for prescribing medication to a patient that delays the permanent and life-altering changes that occur during puberty and has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of suicide attempts.

Bills have been introduced that would either ban transgender youth from getting gender-affirming care and punish doctors for providing that care in Alabama, Arizona, Indiana, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Texas, and Utah. Montana’s bill already failed in the state’s house, but the others could still pass.

Additionally, the state of South Dakota is considering a ban on transgender people correcting the gender marker on their birth certificate, even though federal courts have already held that such bans are unconstitutional.

A bill that would require schools to out a transgender student to their parents if they ask a teacher to use the correct pronouns was introduced in Iowa. The bill even allows for schools to pass around “surveys” to ask students if they’re transgender and then report the information to parents.

“This bill is a disgusting attempt at undermining the safe spaces in Iowa schools,” said Becky Ritland of Iowa Safe Schools. “By allowing this to move forward, the Iowa Legislature will be putting thousands of trans students at risk of abuse, neglect, and suicide.”

Alabama’s bill to ban transgender youth from accessing gender-affirming care would also require schools to out trans students to their parents.

Indiana is considering a bathroom bill that would make it a crime for someone to use a bathroom that doesn’t correspond to their sex assigned at birth or their “chromosomes.”

The bill even defines “female” as someone who “has at least one (1) X chromosome and no Y chromosome” and “male” as a person who “has at least one (1) X chromosome and at least one (1) Y chromosome.”

Despite the bill’s specificity about chromosomes, it does not provide funding for DNA tests to be performed at the entrances of public bathrooms.

LGBTQ Nation used Freedom for All Americans’ bill tracker to find states that are considering anti-transgender legislation, as well as local news articles found via Google. This means that there may be more states considering anti-transgender bills that are not included here, and lawmakers in other states may introduce more bills this year. Bills that were introduced in both chambers of a single state’s legislature were counted only once.

Additionally, Rep. Greg Steube (R-FL) introduced federal legislation last month in the House of Representatives that would threaten state education funding if transgender girls and women are allowed to compete in school sports as their gender.

Rep. Steube’s bill will probably not be brought up for a vote because Democrats control the House, and it would violate President Joe Biden’s interpretation of federal law that civil rights legislation that bans discrimination “because of sex” also bans anti-LGBTQ discrimination.

The bills being considered across the country in state legislatures may also face the same legal difficulties and could lead to lengthy legal battles. The Supreme Court decided last year in Bostock v. Clayton Co. that Title VII’s ban on job discrimination “because of sex” includes anti-LGBTQ discrimination, and the same reasoning could apply to Title IX’s ban on discrimination “based on sex” in education.

Whether or not these bills become law, they’re already hurting transgender youth.

“It’s very unsettling to transgender children who just want to live,” Angela Hale of Equality Texas told the Texas Tribune about her state’s proposed ban on transgender girls in school sports. “They don’t want to have to come down to the Capitol and testify every single legislative session just so that they can live and go about their daily lives.”

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