As President Joe Biden lifts Trump’s trans military ban and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden visits an HIV/AIDS clinic in her first week, things seem to looking up for the LGBTQ community, right?
Not so at the state level. In the first month of 2021, lawmakers in at least 14 states have proposed a slew of bills that would restrict the freedoms of LGBTQ residents. Most of the bills would affect transgender young people, according to Freedom For All Americans, an LGBTQ advocacy group that is tracking the proposals.
North Carolina’s bathroom bill has inspired a slew of “copycat bills” that took aim at transgender people’s access to bathrooms, school sports and, critically, gender-affirming health care. That bill was later repealed.
- In Alabama, lawmakers proposed a bill that would ban physicians from prescribing medication to trans children that would affirm their gender.
- In Oklahoma, a proposed bill would lift a ban on conversion therapy and other practices that aim to suppress a minor’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
- In Montana, two proposals were introduced; one that bans trans students from playing a school sport and another that would ban trans kids from receiving gender-affirming health care. Both bills have passed in the Montana House and will soon reach the state Senate.
Most of the bills won’t ever pass. But even introducing the legislation is damaging to LGBTQ people, especially youths, said Christy Mallory, legal director of UCLA Law’s Williams Institute, a research center that centers on gender identity and sexual orientation law,
“Even just the campaigns around the bills can be really stigmatizing and hurt kids, even if the bills don’t ultimately pass.
Just the fact that knowing that lawmakers are introducing these bills, people are seeing it and reading it, can signal to kids that maybe they’re not supported by their states, that their government is not behind them.”
Transgender young people are already at a higher risk of physical and sexual violence and suicidal thoughts than their cisgender peers, according to the Trevor Project.
But speaking out IS working: Lambda Legal sent a written testimony explaining why a South Dakota bill that would ban correcting one’s gender on a birth certificate was unconstitutional. The bill failed to advance out of committee.
Lawmakers seem to be proposing these new anti-LGBTQ laws as a response to the new Biden administration.
Jenny Pizer, law and policy director of Lambda Legal says,
“We need to anticipate that some of those who prioritize creating licenses to discriminate against us will return their attention to states they perceive as welcoming their anti-LGBTQ agenda.”
Find out what is happening in your state and get involved. Just because Trump is gone and Biden is on the job, the fight is far from over.