While Democrats are focused on common-sense gun control, voting rights, and the American Jobs Plan, Republicans are unfortunately focused on making this a record-breaking year for anti-transgender laws, which will affect minors the most.
Thirty-three states have introduced 117 laws that are making their way through state legislatures that specifically target the transgender community. These include bathroom and locker room bans, sports bans, and bans or restrictions on healthcare. The Human Rights Campaign states that this is the highest number of anti-transgender bills that the organization has recorded since it began tracking anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation over fifteen years ago.
Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee have already passed laws that transgender athletes cannot participate in sports of their gender identity, and 31 more states have introduced those bills. Lawmakers say that transgender girls have an unfair advantage in sports; however, in truth, this is rare. In March, the Associated Press called two dozen state legislators who were in favor of these bans and found that only a few could name an example where the participation of transgender athletes in youth sports had become a source of contention in the team. In many cases, these legislators admitted that they had not even heard of a transgender girl playing sports on a team consistent with her gender identity in their own states.
According to PBS, these bills are not popular among American citizens, even Republicans. 66% of Republicans oppose these laws, while 29% approve and 5% are unsure. These numbers are consistent across the political spectrum. People who know somebody who is transgender are five points more likely to oppose these bills than somebody who does not.
While five years ago, less than a third of Americans knew somebody who was transgender, today that number has increased to 53% of Democrats, 39% of Republicans, and 61% of independents. 63% of millennial and Gen Z voters personally know somebody who is transgender, while only 28% of Americans over 74 know a transgender person. This is a massive increase.
As troubling as it is that transgender athletes won’t be able to play sports on teams that line up with their gender identity, some recent legislation is even more horrific.
Twenty states have introduced legislation to ban gender-affirming healthcare to minors. A bill in Alabama would even make it a felony for doctors to provide transition-related care! As most people know, Arkansas was the first to sign into law legislation that made it the first state to ban gender-affirming care for transgender youth in March. While the governor, Asa Hutchison, vetoed the bill, citing that it was a decision to be made by the patient, parents, and doctor, the Arkansas legislation overturned that veto, making that bill into law. The law prohibits doctors from providing hormone therapy and puberty blockers — even worse, the new law also applies to minors who have already started on this treatment.
Pediatric groups have openly opposed these bills, saying the treatment provided to transgender youth is often lifesaving. A 2020 study by the American Academy of Pediatrics found that treatment to suppress puberty was associated with fewer suicidal thoughts among transgender adults. Cornell University, The Williams Institute, and others have found similar results in studies. In fact, The Williams Institute found that 9% of transgender adults that wanted but did not receive gender-affirming care reported suicide attempts within the past year. We can extrapolate that this number can be the same — or possibly higher — amongst minors, who will be forced to go through puberty against their will. After all, even without these laws, the Human Rights Campaign reports that more than half of transgender male youth have attempted suicide, 29.9% of transgender female teens have attempted suicide, and 41.8% of non-binary youth have attempted suicide. It would not be surprising for these numbers to increase without gender-affirming medical care.
It’s interesting to note that anti-transgender legislation that prohibits gender-transition-related medical care for minors is not popular among the public, even Republicans. According to PBS, among the nation, 28% approve of these laws, and 66% oppose these laws. Among Republicans, 26% approve of these laws, while 70% are against such legislation. This is on par with Democrats: 26% are for these laws, but 69% are opposed.
Reasons like these are why Republicans absolutely need gerrymandering and count on the electoral college, not the popular vote, to win elections. Their ideas are simply not popular among the public. While I don’t discount those in the minority who approve of these disgusting bills, most Americans object to them.
Republicans always talk about wanting a small government. However, these sickening transgender bills tell a different story. They actually want to control the citizens and turn them into what they believe a “traditional” American should be. However, with 1.4 million Americans identifying as transgender and 5.6% of adults identifying with the LGBTQIA+ community, they are just as traditional as any other American in the United States we live in today.