Anti-transgender legislation at an all time high

Anna Long, Staff Reporter

Anti-transgender legislation has reached an all time high in the United States this past year. “It is shocking that anti-equality extremists in state legislatures across this country have dedicated an unprecedented amount of time and energy to attacking the LGBTQ+ community and particularly LGBTQ+ youth,” said Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David in a press release responding to the staggering statistics in anti-transgender legislation being passed, even in 2021, as American society takes one step forward and ten steps back.

School boards nationwide have been passing a record number of bills targeting transgender youth as an effort to “protect” cisgender students, infringing on most basic transgender rights. In Florida, schools have been granted the ability to subject children to genital inspection to determine gender through the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act,” which prevents transgender women from competing on secondary school sports teams as the gender they identify with. If the gender of the female athlete is disputed, they will be required to go through the process of a genital inspection to prove their gender assigned at birth.

This targets not only transgender girls, but any and every female-identifying student who wants to participate in a school sport, who will have to undergo this invasive and inappropriate process lest a coach or sponsor decide that she has to prove her gender to continue playing. Even if she is cisgender, she will be subjected to the inspection.

“We gave everything we had to give,” Florida Representative Omari Hardy shared in a tweet following the passing of the act. “We reasoned, we shouted, we pleaded, we cried, we broke down & left the House Floor. But today, FL Republicans passed a bill not only banning trans kids from playing sports but subjecting kids whose sex may be disputed to genital inspections.”

Not only are trans students being barred from sports and discriminated against, but also, in some states teachers are required to “out” any student that they deem to be performing as a gender they were not assigned at birth. Coming out is a deeply personal decision, and these bills are blatantly attacking the privacy and safety of trans youth, especially in predominantly conservative or ‘traditional’ states where trans students may openly face bullying and harassment from peers.

Schools are not the only place where trans rights are being attacked and disputed. The anti-transgender legislation affecting adults as well filed just in the past month includes Texas SB 1311 (an anti-transgender medical care ban), South Carolina HB 4047 (an anti-transgender medical care ban), and Michigan SB 218 (an anti-transgender sports ban). In Arkansas, the state is now preparing to be the first state level government to place a ban on the ability to start on estrogen, testosterone, puberty blockers and other gender affirming care for trans minors.

“The furious pace of these bills shows that hateful anti-equality groups across the country and extremist legislators alike realize that equality is gaining momentum,” said David later on in his press release. “This is their shameful attempt to throw a wrench into the progress we have steadily made in the fight for equality.”

The response from communities to states passing these bills has been disappointingly low. The legislators responsible for these ridiculous and detrimental acts have faced no large backlash for the harmful legislature and infringement on basic human rights that happen on House Floors today. In comparison, in 2016, North Carolina, made a law restricting transgender bathroom usage. The backlash and outrage at the legislation caused the bill to be repealed. Now, in 2021, people remain silent and unresponsive to the bills and legislation being passed. Transgender people are becoming political pawns and now, more than ever, it is important to remember that bodies are not political playgrounds. This treatment of people by old, white politicians is embarrassing. Do better.