If the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic wasn’t hard enough, 2021 became the record-breaking year for anti-transgender legislature, according to the Human Rights Campaign. April saw a rise in discriminatory bills passed by Republican states toward people who identify as transgender. These bills span from banning transgender athletes from competing, prohibiting gender-affirming surgeries to minors and the battle for the correct bathroom continues on.
Disturbing enough, the worst of the bills comes from Florida. The “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act” prohibits athletes not assigned females at birth from competing on women’s sports teams. The bill also allows for high schools and colleges to make a “physical examination” of these athletes to determine their eligibility to play. In short, Florida passed a bill to examine the genitals of their athletes. This is the most disgusting and humiliating bill to be passed against transgender athletes.
Thirty states have brought up legislation to ban transgender athletes who identify as female from performing in their desired sport. Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee has passed sports bans into law. The anti-trans legislation degrades transgender athletes and push them farther from gaining equality.
However, in wake of these bills, the NCAA spoke out against these states in an open letter condemning the legislation. The NCAA fears these bills will turn kids away from playing sports.
“Legislation aimed at categorically banning transgender people — and particularly transgender girls and women — from sport is inherently discriminatory. Such legislation is often ‘informed’ by hate and misinformation rather than science, and it is most certainly ‘informed’ by fear instead of fact,” the letter states.
Similar legislation has been made toward minors who seek gender-affirming surgeries. According to The Guardian, “The ban prohibits doctors from providing gender-affirming hormone treatment, puberty blockers or surgery to anyone under 18 years old, or from referring them to other providers for the treatment.”
The most recent of these bans has been passed in Arkansas, the first in the nation to do so in the “Save Adolescents From Experimentation (SAFE) Act.” nineteen other states have brought up this legislation to prohibit minors from expressing their true gender identities. Not allowing children to live as their authentic selves is abhorrent, and should make anyone re-evaluate their values.
As stated by the HRC President Alphonso David, “These bills are not addressing any real problem, and they’re not being requested by constituents. Rather, this effort is being driven by national far-right organizations attempting to score political points by sowing fear and hate.”
The statement is concluded by calling out Republican state legislators for continuing inequalities within their states and ignoring COVID-19 relief funds that would highly impact their state’s economies.
Discrimination against transgender Americans, especially trans youth, needs to end. The United States cannot see a decline in progress. Equality seems to be enduring an uphill battle.