Republican legislators in Arizona have helped stop three anti-transgender bills that would’ve blocked people from accessing bathrooms, locker rooms, gender-affirming healthcare as well as non-binary gender markers on government documents.
The legislators’ opposition comes a week after Utah’s Republican Governor Spencer Cox pledged to veto an anti-trans sports bill, signaling a possible shift in GOP party officials’ willingness to target the trans community.
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One of Arizona’s proposed bills, House Bill 2314, would’ve allowed parents to sue schools for letting transgender students use restrooms or locker rooms matching their gender identities. Republican Representative Michelle Udall blocked the bill in committee.
Another bill, HB 2294, would’ve required any state documents to list a person’s gender as either only male or female. Republican House Speaker Russell Bowers helped kill the bill by bucking his fellow members and voting against it.
The third bill, Senate Bill 1138, would’ve prohibited trans youth from accessing hormone replacement therapy and “puberty blockers,” forms of gender-affirming care commonly used by trans adolescents. Republican State Senator Tyler Pace helped narrow the bill to only forbid “genital reassignment” surgeries for minors.
Pace said that the legislative testimony of trans youth and their families helped convince him that such medical care saves and improves lives.
Even if the aforementioned bills had proceeded, Arizona Republican Governor Doug Ducey might’ve vetoed them. He has opposed anti-LGBTQ bills in the past, including ones that prevented discussion on LGBTQ issues in classrooms.
The Arizona Republicans’ opposition to these bills may seem surprising considering that Republicans have introduced similar legislators in 31 states this year. But state Republican officials are increasingly opposing such bills.
Last week, Utah’s Republican governor pledged to veto a bill that would’ve banned trans students from playing on sports teams matching their gender identities.
Last year, Arkansas’ Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson vetoed a bill that would’ve banned gender-affirming healthcare for trans youth, and North Dakota’s Republican Governor Doug Burgum vetoed an anti-trans sports bill.
“It’s not surprising to see Arizona Republicans oppose anti-trans legislation,” Jeanne Woodbury, the communications director of Equality Arizona, told Newsweek.
“This kind of targeted discrimination is popular only among certain interests, who feel that they can find political success by exaggerating differences to exacerbate division, but it is not popular among the majority of Americans of any party,” she added.