On his first day in office, President Joe Biden signed an executive order that stated “children should be able to learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to the restroom, the locker room or school sports.” This order was aimed at fighting discrimination based on gender identity and sexual identity.
Erasing Trans Rights
Yet, eighty-two bills, up from seventy-two last year, have been introduced this legislative session: Most of the bills focus on gender-affirming medical care and athletics, two prominent issues that the legislative session would consider. Sponsors of these bills say they are needed to protect women’s sports and minors. Some examples:
- Governor Tate Reeves of Mississippi signed Mississippi Fairness Act “to ensure young girls are not forced to compete against biological males in female sports leagues.” It would mandate that children, K-college, play on the teams of the sex they were born and not the sex with which they identify. That identification is not a choice for transgender people, but part of their biology, according to scientists.
- Governor Kristi Noem assured that she would sign a similar bill in South Dakota, requiring all you athletes to turn over genetic information to the state as soon as possible.
- Similar legislation has been introduced in over two dozen states. Sponsors think those bills are to protect women’s sports and minors.
- There are bills in the South Carolina House and one in the Texas Senate bill that would prohibit gender-affirming treatment such as puberty blockers and surgery on a minor.
- Arkansas HB 1570 will block trans youth from accessing gender-affirming care and open the door for insurance programs to deny coverage to ALL trans people.
- Alabama legislators are on the verge of passing a bill that would make it a felony to provide life-saving health care in trans youth.
- And there are bills allowing religiously-motivated discrimination against trans people or making it more difficult for trans people to get identification documentation with their names and gender.
Other Areas of Attack
Bathroom bills are being considered that don’t allow students to use the bathrooms of their choice, those that align with their sexual identity, not their biological birth. Some teachers will not use gender-neutral pronouns when addressing a trans student. These pronouns connote a single person without requiring knowledge of their gender.
Did you know that:
- 5 million Americans identify as transgender.
- 150,000 youth, ages 13-17 are transgender or 2% of high school students.
- 1 in 3 transgender Americans have been homeless.
- 59% of Black transgender and non-binary young people have seriously considered suicide.
Setbacks Despite Advances
This past election produced a record number of LGBTQ people in office. Among them: Sarah McBride, 30, is the first trans state senator in Delaware and the highest ranking openly trans lawmaker in the United States. Biden recently picked Pennsylvania ‘s Health Secretary Rachel Levine to be his Assistant Secretary of Health.
“Many trans youth today are forced to use non-affirming names, wear non-affirming clothes and use bathrooms that do not match the gender they live every day.” Hetrick-Martin Institute. HM provides community, basic needs, health, education, and career services to thousands of LGBTQ youth yearly.
The American Academy of Pediatrics speaks out against bills harming trans youth: “politics has no place here. Transgender children, like all children, just want to belong. We will fight state by state, in the courts and on the national stage to make sure they know they do.”
It’s not just the youth who are being erased. Between October 2019 and September 30, 2020, there were 350 murders of transgender people, mostly people of color (poc) and Latinos. Trans murders have jumped 233% from last year.
Show Your Support: These Tips from CNN
- Seek out stories by transgender creators such as the Transgender Film Center.
- Call your local LGBTQ Center to volunteer your services.
- Educate yourself so you can be a good ally. The actor Elliot Page is on the cover of TIME magazine and inside tells her story of transitioning.
When Your Child Is Gay: What You Need To Know
For more detailed advice, see book, co-authored with a mother of a gay son and a psychiatrist, Jonathan L. Tobkes, M.D.