With the war in Ukraine rightfully dominating the news cycle, it is easy to miss the devastating attacks on trans kids happening in our backyard. Over the last few weeks, extremists have pushed some of the deadliest legislation targeting LGBTQ minors and their parents in decades. If successfully implemented, states like Texas, Florida, Alabama, and Idaho could become the most hostile places for trans youth in the country. Here is a rundown of the legislation and how you can help.
One of the most aggressive attacks on trans youth and their families comes out of Texas. Governor Greg Abbott and his administration are attempting to interpret a new law to claim age-appropriate gender-affirming care is child abuse. Despite the fact that this type of care is supported by the American Medical Association, American Psychiatric Association, and American Academy of Pediatrics, the Texas Republican has decided that he will begin to criminally charge the parents of trans kids for supporting their child’s transition.
You can look no further than a recent study that found gender-affirming care reduces suicidality by 73 percent and depression by 60 percent in trans youth to understand that this decree from the governor puts the lives of young people at risk. Not to mention that it criminalizes supportive parents and attempts to separate children from their families.
This unprecedented attack on children and families is an interpretation of existing law, meaning Abbott’s administration can immediately begin the process of targeting some of the most vulnerable in our community. While just yesterday the ACLU sued the state along with Lambda Legal to block this administration’s attack on trans youth, national and local activists are calling for urgent action by the public to protest this decision. You can reach out to Abbott to express your concern here. Additionally, activist Jess Craven made this tool to reach out to Texas companies in order to urge them to condemn Abbott’s attack on trans kids.
Similar to Texas, bills in Idaho and Alabama seek to target access to gender-affirming care for trans youth. HB 675 in Idaho would criminalize gender-affirming care for trans youth and is up for a committee hearing on March 4. SB184 in Alabama would criminalize medical professionals who offer gender-affirming care to trans youth. This bill has already passed in the Senate and will be voted on in the house on March 2. The ACLU recommends urgent action against this bill. You can use this page to contact a legislator in the state.
Then, there is Florida’s now-infamous HB 1557 bill, the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which was recently passed in the state House. The bill would prohibit educators from teaching about sexual orientation and gender to students. This includes a ban on all sexual orientation and gender education of kindergarten through third graders and, in all other levels, bans discussion that is not “age-appropriate,” leaving ample room for parents to sue school districts for teaching anything from LGBTQ-inclusive sex education to LGBTQ history. Equality Florida provided this form to contact a legislator so you can express concern with the bill.
There is even more anti-LGBTQ legislation circulating around the country, including trans sports bans, archaic bathroom laws, and more, but these are among the most pressing. These urgent issues call for immediate action and, while there are no immediate threats to LGBTQ Pennsylvanians, we all need to rally together and call out transphobia wherever we see it.