Rise of anti-transgender legislation should concern everyone

Written By August Stephens, Co-Opinions Editor

Anti-LGBTQIA+, and specifically anti-transgender, legislation is gaining momentum in 2022 just off the heels of the “Don’t Say Gay” bill in Florida. According to NBC News, there have been 238 anti-LGBTQIA+ bills filed just in the first three months of 2022. Anti-transgender legislation specifically targets transgender individuals and their families. Florida, Alabama, Texas, Tennessee and other states are seeing a rapid and worrying increase in bills.


Banning transgender youth from sports is a large topic of discussion across multiple bills, including in Georgia and Indiana. According to the Map Advancement Project, twelve states have a ban on transgender students from participating in sports consistent with their gender identity. Transgender high school students playing sports are a minority. According to ESPN, 0.44% of high school athletes are transgender. However, much of the legislation goes even beyond restricting sports. Many of these bills are limiting young transgender people’s access to gender-affirming care and treatment, which is known to have detrimental impact on transgender’s youth wellbeing. Legislators are deciding if transgender people get to live safely and happily or not everyday. 


Human rights should not be a discussion which can have a “devil’s advocate” point to it. If someone has the bravery and courage which is required to tell you they are transgender, they trust you. People need to react positively when being told about someone’s identity. It is extremely heartbreaking that transgender men get told they can be “shown what a real man is.” It is equally as heartbreaking that transgender women, particularly transgender women of color, get told they will never be feminine enough to be a women or face an rising threat of violent attacks that have turned deadly. 


Transgender people are human. They would never willingly sign up for the ridicule, harassment and danger that is required to be a trans person today. They are harassed, beaten and killed for identifying as who they are. 


The right to respectful healthcare is especially under attack; people being fined or charged with a felony for seeking care regarding hormone replacement therapy or surgery. To clarify, hormone replacement therapy is the prescription of testosterone or estrogen depending on someone’s identity after medical appointments with a gender therapist and often recommendation from another counselor or psychiatrist. According to The Washington Post, a bill in Idaho would make providing gender-affirming care for young trangender youth  a felony, which could be punishable up to life in prison. This includes traveling to another state to receive the care. 


According to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Arizona has passed two bills banning transgender health-care for young people and participation in sports which will be signed by Governor Doug Dacey or vetoed. Gender-affirming care is not elective; it is necessary for transgender people to feel comfortable with their bodies. More than half of LGBTQIA+ Arizona members reported feeling depressed in the past two weeks. 


Children, teenagers and adults deserve the right to feel like they belong. If you feel as though anti-transgender legislation is calming down, that is not the case. Also the Human Rights Campaign reports 2021 was the deadliest year on record for transgender and gender-non-comforming people. 


It is with my hope that you understand and take time to reflect on the weight of this topic. If you care about your friends, children and acquaintances, please contact lawmakers and tell them to vote no to any anti-transgender legislation. It is not easy to be a transgender individual because of varying personal circumstances, but it is only getting harder in a country which is moving back in time. Anti-transgender bills and laws dehumanizes people as a whole. Please protect transgender people everyday.