Recent weeks have seen a beehive of activities for several Republican politicians seeking to introduce anti-trans laws. These measures aim to crack down on the lives and well-being of trans youths and their care providers. If you are not giving these things the attention they deserve, you better start now.
While the laws currently being introduced aim to prevent trans teens from participating in high school sports, some states have introduced measures that would make offering trans-affirming healthcare illegal, which only will harm today’s youth.
For instance, Idaho is considering a bill that, if passed, will see things move in that direction. The bill seeks to provide medical care to trans youths, a felony punishable by life imprisonment. It also aims to prohibit families of trans kids in Idaho from traveling elsewhere for treatment. The move elicited mixed media reactions, prompting a judge to issue an injunction against the directive being effected.
Anti-Trans Laws are on the Rise
Since 2018, we’ve seen an increased number of bills targeting the transgender community. These bills seek to restrict LGBTQ+ issues in school curriculums, limit trans people’s ability to participate in sports, and allow discrimination against LGBTQ+ people in religious establishments. It also limits access to gender-affirming healthcare and the use of bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity.
Proponents of these bills claim they want to protect children, parental rights, and religious freedom. Critics, however, say that these bills are discriminatory and are nothing about protecting constituents.
Chase Strangio, the deputy director for transgender injustice at ACLU LGBT & HIV Project, said that people need to think about what’s happening regarding trans people, especially in the health care context. He said that we’re seeing a case where the state can declare a population of people so undesirable that it becomes a crime to seek medical help.
As the number of anti-trans bills increases, so is the support for LGBTQ+ rights and policies against the discrimination of lesbians, gay, bisexual, queer people, and transgender. According to a Public Religion Research Institute survey, about 8 in 10 Americans support laws that protect LGBTQ+ people from discrimination in housing, jobs, and public accommodations. The survey also states that about 70 percent of Americans support same-sex marriage.
The State Bills are not About Public Sentiments
LGBTQ+ advocates believe that the increase in state bills is more about conservative and religious groups and not about the public interest. Activists believe that the groups are pushing this legislation in response to a string of progressive wins. The most significant ones are the supreme court rulings—one that won LGBTQ+ people protection from workplace discrimination in 2020 and another that allowed same-sex marriage in 2015.
For a long time, Conservative religious leaders and politicians have presented themselves as gatekeepers of traditional values in society. As such, LGBTQ+ rights have become a primary target from these groups of people because they go against the family—one of the most traditional institutions of humankind.
Data from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Freedom for All Americans reveal that laws targeting LGBTQ+ have significantly increased. For instance, about 37 percent of 2019’s anti-LGBTQ bills were anti-trans compared to 80 percent in 2021. By March 2022, 65 percent of anti-LGBTQ filed, 154 were anti-trans bills.
According to a long-time trans advocate, Gillin Branstetter, the proponents of these bills want to make the country a living hell for trans kids, which should not be the case.
Parents of Transgender Kids are Living in Fear
No one ever thought people would be terrified by living according to their identity in 2022, but it’s happening. In 2020 alone, at least six states passed laws that criminalized providing gender-affirming care, including temporary puberty blockers and hormone therapy.
Parents of trans kids are worried that their kids’ mental health would be at risk if the legislation passes these bills. It denies trans kids the opportunity to be who they are, and it’s not fair. While most of these kids receive significant support from schools and peers, the increasing discrimination from lawmakers and other conservative organizations could undo these gains.
Among the most successful anti-trans legislation is the measure prohibiting trans kids from competing in school sports teams that match their gender identity. According to ACLU and the Human Rights Campaign, about 11 states have considered enacting trans sports bans since 2021. This presents difficult moments for students who want to participate in these sporting events.
Suicidal Rates Among Trans Teens Will Rise if Anti-Trans Laws are Passed
Talk to any trans person you know around you, and you’ll feel they are undergoing panic with the ongoing assault against trans people. Parents of trans teens are also going through a lot as their attempts to help their kids who are trans could land them in jail. The proposed measures are not just interfering with the private lives of family medical decisions but also creating horrendous conditions for trans children who are more likely to die of suicide.
The measure banning trans teens from participating in high school sports has increased reported cases of suicidal behavior in teens. This might explain why the reason the governor of Utah, Spencer Cox, is yet to sign the bill.
Ideally, these measures can cause severe physical and mental harm to trans teens. Many believe that if these laws are enacted, they’ll enable mass murder. While they will look like individual tragedies, they will be due to uncaring and evil laws.
What Next for New Anti-Trans Laws
While many anti-trans bills do not pass the committee stage, trans people, especially the youth, may still suffer the mental toll when they see these discussions in their states. It’s demoralizing for LGBTQ+ people to see people go after them without taking the time to understand them.
These laws also go against Biden’s administration’s position on transgender rights. In 2021, the Pentagon issued new policies to allow transgender Americans in the military. More advocacy is required at the federal level to counteract these state bills. This will help create an environment that respects and cares for trans youths like any other person.