Last week, the Mississippi House of Representatives passed a bill banning incarcerated trans people from submitting a name change request or legally changing their gender marker.
HB 1099, also called the “Real You Act,” originally sought to ban minors from changing their gender markers as well, but ultimately was limited to those who are incarcerated.
The bill says trans inmates would only be able to have name change requests approved if they are filed by a county sheriff, the state’s Department of Corrections commissioner or a department chaplain, or the district attorney.
“This legislation is being pushed by anti-equality forces in the state house and not addressing any actual problem,” said Rob Hill, the Mississippi State Director of the Human Right’s Campaign’s (HRC) Project One America.
“It’s an exceptionally shameful example of politicians trying to score political points on the backs of some of the most vulnerable individuals in our society.”
Hill went on to say that trans people are not only more likely to be incarcerated, but also more likely to face violent mistreatment while serving time.
“They are often housed in facilities that do not match their gender identity, are inappropriately placed in solitary confinement, and face astronomically high rates of sexual assault. This bill does nothing to address any of the actual issues being experienced by incarcerated transgender people and instead places another hurdle in front of them.”
HRC’s statement condemning the bill also points out that it was created based directly on recommendations from a policy paper by the anti-LGBTQ hate group, the Family Research Council.
“The policy paper makes recommendations on how to limit the rights of trans people by explicitly barring them from obtaining legal identification that affirms their identity – including through limiting access to legal name changes,” HRC explained.
The bill passed the House in an 84-30 vote and is now headed to the state Senate.