If you don’t watch or read the news you might have missed the onslaught of anti-LGBTQ bills introduced in 2022. The majority of the bills target Trans individuals but here’s a quick look at what we’re facing.
Fairness in Women’s Sports Bills
First up in the anti-LGBTQ laws have the Fairness in Women’s Sports, as you might suspect this is targeted at the male to female trans athletes specifically. Last year 31 bills came to the floor and in 2022 27 bills have been submitted (so far.) What’s even more jarring is that South Dakota recently passed SB 46 as well as South Carolina’s H 4608 actually allows members of the female sex to play on boys’ teams while strictly prohibiting the reverse.
Lia Thompson is perhaps the most notable trans athlete breaking records and barriers right now. Previously USA Swim required 12 months of hormone therapy to qualify to compete. Now they are looking at upping that requirement to 36 months. Was Lia doing to well?
Bills like Alabama’s SB 184 and Oklahoma’s HB3240 make it illegal to provide gender-affirming healthcare for trans individuals. Additionally, it can bar healthcare professionals, stripping them of their credentials. In some cases, it will actually make it illegal to take your child out of state for the purposes of gender affirmation. If you’re in Texas, people can sue you for helping anyone obtain this type of healthcare. In fact, the Governor of Texas wants to reclassify gender-affirming care as “child abuse.”
There is currently an injunction on Arkansas bill HB1570 which passed in 2021. The title of the bill? Save Adolescents From Experimentation, the SAFE act. Does anyone here feel safe? Us neither.
Mandated Reporter Bills
These relatively new trending bills will prohibit authority figures in public schools, such as teachers, counselors, etc. from “coercing” youth to hide their gender identity from their parents if they identify as something other than what appears on their birth certificate.
Our home state of Arizona currently has two problematic bills. SB 1045 will prohibit teachers from “withholding” the gender identity of students from their parents. Arizona also has HB 2293 in the pipeline. This house bill takes it a step farther, this one prohibits public schools from requiring staff to respect a student’s pronouns.
Parents’ Rights in Education
These bills, of course, focus on a parents’ right to control what their children are taught in schools. Florida recently came up with HB 1557/SB 1834, better known as the “Don’t Say Gay Bill.” These bills, if they pass, will prohibit teachers from discussing topics pertaining to sexual orientation and gender identity. This phrasing focuses on “age-appropriate,” and “developmentally appropriate.” Make no mistake, these bills will essentially stop ALL discussion of LGBTQ+ issues.
South Carolina has H455 which will force schools to inform parents of the clubs their child is in (can you say outing?) This bill also lets parents opt out of any lessons involving AIDs and sexuality. Arizona and Oklahoma also have similar bills involving the censorship of gender identities and sexually explicit material.
The Bathroom Bills
This is an oldie but goodie in anti-LGBTQ legislation. Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Mississippi all have bills that mandate bathrooms are to be used based on biological sex determined at birth. Exemptions will be very difficult to obtain. In fact, the bill in South Dakota would still deny you even if you have an updated birth certificate and have had surgery.
Religious Rights Bills
And lastly, and perhaps most insidiously, are the so-called religious rights bills. Iowa’s HF 170 expands the right of “sincerely held religious beliefs” to include discriminating against LGBTQ+ weddings, defining sex as immutable and assigned at birth, and more. Anyone at all can discriminate and all they have to say is “religious freedom.”
Arizona, Indiana, and Kentucky have also all introduced legislation that not only allows people to discriminate but protects their right to do so. These bills are especially dangerous because it bars our community from adopting, fostering, keeping their jobs, and receiving necessary medical care.
What You Can Do
Please call your representatives, write them letters, organize and attend marches and rallies if you can. Let them know that we will not let this happen, we will not go back, and shout that anti-LGBTQ laws are unconstitutional.