What’s Up With All These Anti-Trans Bills?

Whats Up With All These Anti-Trans Bills?

Unfortunately, within the last couple of years, American legislators have created bills that would push America backwards in the general fight for human rights. As of writing, a major concern is the safety of trans individuals, especially trans children, as lawmakers push bills that would restrict their access to care and acceptance. The most prevalent actions are the banning of gender-affirming healthcare for minors and criminalizing any treatment given by medical practitioners. This is often closely followed by the banning of discussions surrounding sexuality and gender in schools, including calling trans students by their preferred name and pronouns.

Unsurprisingly, such actions do not come from a place of legitimate reasoning but rather bigotry. These bills will likely cause more harm than good. Many of these bills are created in the name of protecting children but open the door to more harm and abuse of trans and queer kids than they were at risk of before. One of the bills that portrays this in a less outright, explicitly harmful manner is Arizona’s HB 2293 bill which would make it unlawful for school staff to address students by their preferred name and pronouns. While this does not put trans students directly in the line of fire, it will create a school environment that is legally allowed to be hostile to trans kids. These kids will be attending school in an environment where they will not be able to exist with their correct gender, name, and pronouns. This denial of identity can be detrimental to the mental, social, and emotional health of trans individuals. Lack of acceptance for trans individuals has a high correlation to self-harm and suicide. An article published by Reuters compiled data on the number of trans individuals that have been led to harmful behavior in response to familial rejection based upon their identity. The text stated that about 42 percent of the survey participants had attempted suicide at some point in their lives, and 26 percent had abused alcohol or drugs. This is quite the increase of suicide attempts compared to the number that is reported from the general public. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the percentage of suicide attempts among the general population is 13.48 percent. A vast difference from the 42 percent within the trans community. This is a massively unaddressed societal issue that will only get worse with legislation such as the HB 2293 bill.

Another bill that is currently being pushed is the HB 1557/SB 1834 bill in Florida. This bill would prohibit schools from withholding information of a student’s gender queer identity from their parents. It would also prohibit the discussion of gender and sexuality below a specified age and allows parents to opt-out of traditionally required discussions of gender, sexuality, and sex-ed. The major issue with this bill is that it would leave students without adequate education out themselves and their relationships to be safe and successful later in life, but more pressingly, it would put trans students at risk of being kicked out or abused by their families. If a child feels it is necessary to tell their teacher about a subject such as their gender or sexuality, there is likely a reason as to why they did not tell their family first. By requiring school staff to disclose such information to the family of a student, the student is very likely put at high risk of returning to a harmful home environment. According to an article published by JAMA Network, out of a nationwide survey of 385 trans youth, 296 of the participants reported abuse and or neglect from their parents or guardians in correlation to their identity as trans individuals. Unfortunately, the families accepting and caring for their trans kids once they are out, are on the low end. By requiring school staff to out a trans child to their parents, Florida legislatures are knowingly putting kids in harm’s way while pushing rhetoric that is is for child safety.

Issues of trans oppression are not just isolated to a classroom setting. South Dakota’s SB46 bill aims to prohibit those who are not biologically female from competing on sports teams designated as “women” or “girls.” This would require trans or non-binary athletes to compete on teams that correlate to their assigned gender at birth, often pushing such athletes to opt-out of competing at all. Such bills systematically push trans individuals out of sports.

South Carolina’s H 4608 bill takes this a step further and makes all those who would like to participate on “women’s” teams show proof of biological gender. This bill would force athletes to show proof of biological gender as a woman just to compete on a sports team. Even for those who are not trans, this is invasive to one’s personal information and is actively harmful to not only trans individuals but also those who are biologically nonconforming to the male or female genders, such as those who are intersex. By making regulations such as this, you are giving organizations legal rights to overstep boundaries that are unnecessary for sports teams, especially those that are children’s or community teams.

One of the most common arguments as to why these regulations are necessary is that trans individuals, especially trans women, will make competitions unfair for those who are cisgender. If the concern is an imbalance inability, then there are other ways to offset that, than just outright banning trans people from sports. Co-ed and skill level-based teams are an easy remedy that would allow trans athletes to compete as their correct gender while also removing the issue of an imbalance in skill. Unfortunately, such options will continue to be ignored in favor of trans-phobic actions due to an underlying societal rejection of trans individuals.

While writing, I opted to avoid discussing the more triggering topics such as the banning of trans healthcare, but unfortunately, the world of trans oppression is much worse than what was discussed here. Trans individuals, mainly trans kids, are under attack by American lawmakers, and most concerningly, the trend does not seem to be slowing down.