The wave of anti-trans bills and laws in US states : What do they seek to do ?

The wave of anti-trans bills and laws in US states : What do they seek to do ?

Context- Over the last few weeks, 150 anti-transgender rights bills have been introduced or are moving forward in 25 states in the US, including Kentucky, Kansas, Missouri, and North & South Dakota, making this the “highest number of bills targeting transgender people in a single year to date”, according to a press release issued by Human Rights Campaign, a US-based civil rights body.

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What are these bills and what are they seeking to do?

  • The new anti-transgender bills being pushed mainly by lawmakers of the Republican Party, seek to prevent trans people, including transgenders, transvestites, and non-binary persons, from accessing healthcare, including “gender-affirming surgeries” and hormone therapy for trans youth.
  • The laws also propose restrictions on drag shows, on the use of bathrooms by trans people, and on the use of gender-appropriate pronouns.
  • Over the past three years, Republican lawmakers have proposed a slew of legislation to “regulate the lives of transgender youth” in areas such as education, healthcare, and even recreation. A total 340 anti-LGBTQ bills have been introduced nationwide, out of which 150 specifically target trans people.
  • Some of these bills, like the ban on gender-affirming or “transition care” for trans youth, have become laws in states like Utah and South Dakota.
  • Republicans in Georgia and Kansas have introduced legislation banning gender-affirming care under 18s and under 21s respectively. Similar bills are being initiated by Republicans in 25 different states.
  • “Gender-affirming care is age-appropriate care that is medically necessary for the well-being of many transgender and non-binary people who experience symptoms of gender dysphoria or distress that results from having one’s gender identity not match their sex assigned at birth,” the HRC has said.

What do the different bills being proposed across various states say?

  1. Kentucky : The Kentucky Senate passed “Senate Bill 150” on February 17, which mandates the disclosure of an LGBTQ student’s identity to their parents and seeks to prohibit schools from using or recommending any policies concerning the use of pronouns like “they/them”.
  2. South Dakota : South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem signed a bill titled the “Help Not Harm Bill”, or the H.B.1080, on February 13, prohibiting both surgical and non-surgical gender-affirming treatments for trans youth under age 18, which comes into effect on July 1, CBS reported, adding that medical professionals could risk legal action such as losing their licences.
  3. North Dakota : A bill restricting transgender athletes from choosing their school teams says that athletics teams should be determined based on an individual’s sex at the time of birth, even at the kindergarten level. This bill has passed the Senate and the House of Representatives by 78 to 15 votes and will be forwarded to the Senate now.
  4. Arkansas : Arkansas became the first state to ban transition care, puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, or gender transition surgeries for minors in 2021, despite its former Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson vetoing this decision. However, on July 21, 2021, a federal judge blocked this ban in the case of “Brandt et al v. Rutledge et al”.
  5. Mississippi : A bill introduced in the Mississippi state legislature this year, titled the “Senate Bill 2076” states that males and females possess unique and immutable biological differences that manifest before birth and increase with age and puberty.

What is the background against which these bills are being proposed?

  • According to data on the HRC’s website, “by the end of the 2022 legislative session, a record 17 bills attacking transgender and non-binary children passed into law”. Also, efforts by “far-right radicals” have led to banning LGBTQ events, spaces, and culture including drag shows and instances of violence against the LGBTQ community, such as the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs last year.
  • “The flood of legislation is part of a long-term campaign by national groups that see transgender rights as an issue on which they can harness voter anger,” The New York Times said. It said that suicide rates among transgenders were rising in the wake of harassment and threats faced by them.

Conclusion- LGBTQ+ group constitutes one of the most vulnerable minorities. As such, no discrimination on the ground of gender as highlighted by the Supreme Court of India should be the way forward.

Source- Indian Express

NEWS- The wave of anti-trans bills and laws in US states : What do they seek to do ?

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