© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A person holds up a flag during rally to protest the Trump administration’s reported transgender proposal to narrow the definition of gender to male or female at birth, at City Hall in New York City, US, October 24, 2018. REUTERS / Brendan McD
By Maria Caspani
(Reuters) – Republicans in at least a dozen U.S. states have passed legislation this year restricting the rights of transgender youth in a range of areas, including healthcare, sports and classroom instruction.
The bills, some of which have been signed into law by governors, come in the run-up to the 2022 midterm elections, with transgender rights emerging as a major front in America’s culture wars.
Here are some of the bills passed or enacted this year targeting trans children and adolescents:
SCHOOL SPORTS BANS
ARIZONA: Governor Doug Ducey signed a law banning transgender students from participating in school sports teams consistent with their gender identity in both public and private schools.
GEORGIA: Lawmakers passed a bill with an amendment creating a school athletics oversight committee that would determine whether transgender students can play on school sports team that align with their gender identity. The measure is headed to the desk of Governor Brian Kemp, a Republican.
KENTUCKY: Democratic Governor Andy Beshear vetoed a bill that would have banned trans women and girls from school sports teams in grades six through 12 and at Kentucky colleges and universities.
INDIANA: Republican Governor Eric Holcomb vetoed a bill banning trans girls from girls’ school sports. Republican leaders in the legislators have vowed to override it.
IOWA: Republican Governor Kim Reynolds signed a bill requiring student athletes to join school sports team based on the “sex at birth” across public and private schools as well as in higher education.
KANSAS: Democratic Governor Laura Kelly is likely to veto a bill that cleared both chambers of the state legislature banning transgender women and girls from participating in female school sports. Kelly vetoed a similar bill last year.
OKLAHOMA: Republican Governor Kevin Stitt banned transgender girls from participating and competing in girls’ school sports. The law also requires parents or guardian of student athletes under 18 to sign an affidavit “acknowledging the biological sex of the student at birth.”
UTAH: Lawmakers voted to override Governor Spencer Cox’s veto on a bill banning transgender girls ‘participation in girls’ sports teams in school. Cox, a Republican, called the bill a flawed measure in a lengthy letter explaining his veto.
SOUTH DAKOTA: Governor Kristi Noem, a Republican, signed a bill banning transgender women and girls from playing on school sports teams that align with their gender identity. The ban applies to all state-accredited schools.
ARIZONA: Doug Ducey, the Republican governor, signed into law a bill banning physicians from performing “irreversible gender reassignment surgery” on minors.
ALABAMA: Lawmakers passed a bill that would criminalize parents and medical professionals who provide gender-affirming medical care to minors. It is awaiting the governor’s signature or veto.
TEXAS: Bypassing the legislative process, Governor Greg Abbott issued an order to investigate parents who provide gender-affirming care to their transgender children. Abbott has said these treatments amount to “child abuse,” and prompted some healthcare providers to pause or restrict care for transgender children. The order is currently being challenged in court.
FLORIDA: Republican Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill that bans any classroom conversation, including instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity for children in kindergarten through third grade, and says all teaching for grades 4-12 must be “age-appropriate,” wording that is not defined in the bill. The law allows parents to sue school districts they believe to be in violation.
Sources: The Human Rights Campaign, Equality Federation, Freedom for all Americans, ACLU.