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Desperate Georgia GOP rams last-minute anti-trans bills through legislature

Transgender youths in an outdoor city space hold protest signs declaring that "trans rights are human rights."
Trans youth protesting in Philadelphia Photo: Shutterstock

In a last-ditch effort to pass anti-trans legislation previously declared dead in the Georgia legislature, conservative lawmakers are bundling a greatest-hits list of discriminatory proposals into two hateful omnibus packages.

Originally a bill addressing high school athletes’ mental health, the amended H.B. 1104 now includes provisions, according to trans journalist Erin Reed, that would ban transgender students from playing on teams aligned with their gender identity; ban transgender students from bathrooms aligned with their gender identity; opt parents into notification for every book a student checks out of the library; bar sex education before sixth grade and make all sex-ed classes opt-in; and expand obscenity laws in furtherance of a book-banning agenda.

On Tuesday, the Georgia Senate passed H.B. 1104 on a party-line vote. It awaits reconciliation with the Georgia House of Representatives version of the bill.

The current Georgia legislative session adjourns today, Thursday.

In a similar move, lawmakers added a ban on puberty blockers for transgender youth to H.B. 1170, originally directed at the opioid crisis. The addition fills in a gap left by a compromise in an earlier ban on gender-affirming care for trans youth that left out the sex hormone-suppressing medications.

Among 14 anti-trans bills introduced in this legislative session in Georgia, not all made it into the two omnibus packages. A measure forcibly outing trans youth at schools and yet another school bathroom bill both faced stiff opposition when originally introduced.

The hearing around S.B. 88, which would have outed trans students without their consent and restricted discussion of LGBTQ+ topics in classrooms, was farcical, allowing only individuals and groups in support of the bill to speak — like Gays Against Groomers and Log Cabin Republicans — while canvassing the opinions of those in opposition who packed the gallery only by a show of hands.

In another instance, a Georgia senator sponsoring the latest bathroom bill knelt down to assure a young girl who was lobbying lawmakers that he would protect her — before he was informed she was trans. He backed away, awkwardly muttering, “You’re attacking me.”

Georgia’s relentless anti-trans campaign is bucking what could be a positive trend in other red states away from a years-long onslaught of discriminatory anti-LGBTQ+ legislation.

In Florida recently, nearly two dozen anti-LGBTQ+ bills were defeated in the wake of Gov. Ron DeSantis‘s (R) presidential campaign implosion, dozens of measures in Virginia were tabled, and Ohio’s governor backed off his attempt to restrict gender-affirming care access for transgender adults and minors. 

Meanwhile, in D.C., Democrats successfully excised 50 anti-trans provisions in the two budget bills passed and signed by President Joe Biden to fund the federal government.

Even Fox News has been forced to acknowledge transgender issues are among the lowest-priority concerns among voters.

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