These Bills Threaten Transgender Rights

States are still targeting the trans community.

Transgender lives have been threatened under the Trump administration, as well as locally, with transphobic bills aiming to strip the trans community of their rights increasingly making their way through state legislatures.

trans rights protest
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This year, dozens of anti-LGBTQ pieces of legislation have been introduced, including numerous so-called “religious freedom” bills, which seek to give a faith-based carve-out to anti-discrimination laws.

Here are the bills still active in the states that take particular aim at the transgender individuals, not including the aforementioned religious freedom bills, or those that go after the community as a whole. If these bills become law, trans people will yet again find their lives made more difficult and less free due to state action.

Alaska

In Alaska, House Bill 5 seeks to prohibit state funded gender confirmation surgery.

Last year, a transgender legislative librarian sued the state in federal court, alleging she was denied coverage for medically necessary surgical treatments for discriminatory reasons. That case is still pending.

“The medical community overwhelmingly recognizes that transition-related care is medically necessary and can even be lifesaving,” said one of her attorneys, Peter Renn of Lambda Legal, AP reports. Renn called HB 5 “dangerous.”

The bill is in committee, with the last action a referral on March 13.

Meanwhile, a pro-LGBTQ bill is working its way through the legislature as well. HB 82 would add non-discrimination protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. It was referred to the judiciary on Wednesday, April 24.

trans rights
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Tennessee

Tennessee has two anti-transgender bills in process: HB 1151 and HB 1274.

HB 1151 is being presented as an “indecent exposure” bill that would expand that definition to include “incidents occurring in a restroom, locker room, dressing room, or shower, designated for single-sex, multi-person use, if the offender is a member of the opposite sex than the sex designated for use.”

Chris Sanders, executive director for the Tennessee Equality Network, told NewNowNext last month that the bill, should it become law, would set trans people up to be “arrested and prosecuted.”

“In Tennessee, you cannot change the sex designation on your birth certificate” Sanders noted. “Legally speaking, many trans people are the so-called ‘opposite sex.’ That’s how the law defines trans people.”

Under the new law, a transgender woman could face anywhere from a misdemeanor to a felony charge, resulting in thousands in fines and up to six years in prison, simply for using the woman’s bathroom.

The bill passed in the House, with a 69-25 vote, and has moved on to the Senate.

trans rights protest
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Another anti-trans bill, HB 1274, would expand the attorney general’s responsibilities to include defending schools that prevent transgender students from using the locker rooms and bathrooms matching their identity.

“What that bill is really about is sending a message to school district that they can and should put in place policies that discriminate against transgender young people—and that they will have the government’s support if those discriminatory policies are challenged in court,” Kasey Suffredini, president of strategy at Freedom for All Americans, told NewNowNext.

“That’s really what the law says: The government will have your back if you choose to treat transgender students poorly.”

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