While The Country Preps for Primaries and Pandemic, States Take Up Votes On Trans Lives

Here is what is happening in state legislatures while we turn our attention elsewhere.

In the coming week much of our national attention will be focused on Super Tuesday primary voting and the domestic and global responses to COVID-19. But while these stories dominate our time, attention and resources, systemic attacks on trans lives will continue in many state legislatures. In the midst of critical national and global stories, we must not lose sight of what is happening locally.

Rally in Pierre, SD to stop HB 1057. Credit: ACLU

Here is a rundown of states and issues to watch:

Arizona. On Monday, the Arizona House will likely vote on HB 2706. The bill would regulate girls’ and women’s athletics by imposing draconian standards on participation that will outright ban girls who are trans and intersex and subject all young women and girls to potentially traumatizing and invasive genital, hormonal and chromosomal sex verification testing.

What you can do? If you are an Arizona resident, contact your legislator and tell them to vote NO on HB 2706. Everyone — in and out of Arizona — should contact Arizona Governor Ducey and Senate President Karen Fann to make sure they stop HB 2706 if it passes out of the House. For updates and action items follow @ACLUAz.

What can you say? Raise the alarms using the hashtags #AZLeg and #NoHB2706 to tell lawmakers that this bill is a dangerous attack on trans lives, a major intrusion into the privacy of young girls and women, and alarming government overreach. The standards in the bill far exceed how sport is regulated at any level of competition anywhere in the world.

Alabama. Alabama is moving a series of dangerous bills that attack trans youth. First, companion bills in the Alabama House and Senate have passed out of committee that would make health care for transgender youth a crime. These are SB 219 and HB 303. These bills make it a felony to provide medically necessary health care for transgender youth. This means care that people rely on to survive will be cut off and kids will die. The bill also mandates that school counselors tell a parent or guardian if a young person is trans or questioning. This means kids could be forcibly outed and end up kicked out of the home. These bills are dangerous and on the move.

Alabama has also passed a sports bill like Arizona’s described above. That is HB 35, which is named the “Gender Is Real” (GIRL) Act.

What you can do? If you live in Alabama, contact your lawmaker and tell them to vote NO on all three of these bills. For anyone, tell Alabama leadership to stop these bills that includes: Alabama Governor Kay Ivey, Alabama Lieutenant Governor Will Ainsworth, House Speaker Mac McCutcheon, Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh. Use the hashtag #ALLeg and #ProtectTransKids and raise awareness about the bills. You can also follow @ACLUAlabama on social media.

What you can say? As with the Arizona bill you should note how the sports ban is going to hurt all women and girls and single out groups of people for discrimination. It is illegal and deeply harmful. And for the health care bill, the danger could not be more serious. These criminal bans fly in the face of everything we know about the medical needs of trans youth and young people will die if they can’t access the care that is proven to reduce rates of suicidality.

Idaho. Last week the Idaho House passed two anti-trans bills that will likely be heard in the Senate the week of March 9, 2020. These are HB 500 and HB 509. Like the bills mentioned above, HB 500, is a draconian restriction on participation in athletics. HB 509 would bar any updates to birth certificates even though a court already struck down Idaho’s existing policy that had restricted changes to birth records. This means that HB 509 wholly contravenes an existing court order. Meanwhile, HB 500 would implement the most restrictive policy for athletic competition at any level of competition anywhere in the world overriding Idaho’s already restrictive policy that mirrors the NCAA rules but for K-12 participation.

What you can do? If you live in Idaho, contact your lawmaker and make sure they know that you want them to oppose these bills. For everyone, raise the alarms on both bills. Particularly make sure that Governor Brad Little and Senate Leadership know that these bills represent a dangerous attack on trans lives. Use hashtags like #IDLeg and #ProtectTransKids. You can follow @ACLUIdaho on social media for updates and action items.

What can you say? As with the sports bills elsewhere, note how dangerous it is to have the government intruding in people’s privacy to such a degree. The Idaho Attorney General also flagged how HB 500 raises serious legal concerns. For HB 509, it is a patently unconstitutional intrusion into the privacy and equal protection rights of trans people and is in violation of a court order.

Missouri. Missouri is considering three anti-trans sports bills, HJR 82, SJR 50, and HB 2718, as well as ban on medical care for trans youth, HB 1721. The medical care ban, HB 1721, will have a committee hearing on Tuesday, 3/3. It is important to keep mobilizing against these bills. Follow PROMO and ACLU of Missouri for updates and action items. There is a community teach-in on March 4 in St. Louis to help mobilize.

Tennessee. Tennessee has a full slate of anti-trans bills this session. Both the anti-trans sports bill, SB 2625/HB 2410, and the anti-trans medical care bill, HB 2576/SB 2215, have House hearings this week. The medical care bill is particularly sweeping and dangerous and would criminalize not just the provision of care but it would make it a crime for anyone to not disclose to a parent or guardian that their minor child is trans or questioning. The bill raises not only serious Due Process and Equal Protection concerns but also First Amendment compelled speech and overbreadth problems (as in, it criminalizes a range of protected speech and impermissibly forces people to speak). Follow ACLU of Tennessee, @ACLUTN, on all social media for updates and action items.

Bills are also pending in Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, and elsewhere.

Here is a full list of pending anti-LGBTQ legislation.

Here is a resource page from the State Innovation Exchange on how to fight these bills.

If we do not stop these bills, we know people will suffer and likely some people will die. There is a lot to worry about right now and it is easy to feel overwhelmed. This is meant to give some more information and a roadmap for advocacy and to remind you that we will never stop fighting.


Lawyer, dad, queer, pats fan

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