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  • Michael L Bergonzi

A Wave of Anti-Transgender Legislation Gains Ground

By Michael L. Bergonzi

Today is a day for celebrating transgender visibility. However, the recent school shooting in Nashville is giving some people the fuel needed to push anti-transgender laws in some states. At this point, we don't know if the shooter's gender played a role in their decision to shoot and kill six people.

Even before the shooting, some states were already in the process of creating laws that would ultimately silence transgender voices in those states under the pretense of a family-first mentality. Since Florida signed its "Don't say Gay Bill" last year, other states have followed suit. However, Ed Yahnka of the Illinois ACLU thinks it started much earlier when same-sex marriage became legal across the United States in 2015. After that, the focus shifted to transgender people being the target of the backlash. "It's made its way into legislation, and there is this kind of rush to the bottom that once one state does something, the next state believes they have to do it."

Ed Yahnka of the Illinois ACLU

On March 23, Utah passed bill SB 93 into law. A week earlier and the governor of Utah approved a law that limits transgender people from having they're preferred gender on their Identification documents. A day before and Missouri signed bill SF 538 into law. This would prevent healthcare providers from providing hormone and other treatments for transgender people.

Proponents of this legislation say that it's is about protecting children. That it is not about transphobia or hate. Yahnka disagrees, calling rules and laws like the one World Athletics enacted this month unfair and unjust, especially in the high school setting. High school sports activities are often used to socialize with other students in a public high school. "The idea that we're going to limit somebody who is already being ostracized and, in many ways, from participation at that level is just cruel."

Closer to home, Missouri has several bills advancing through the state's government starting all the way back to the beginning of the year, according to an ACLU web tool that maps attacks on LGBTQ rights by issue, state, and status of anti-LGBTQ bills across the United States.

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