Update (January 27, 2021):
In a surprising turn of events, the Montana House has advanced HB 112, which would limit trans student athletes, but killed HB 113, which would block medical professionals from providing gender-affirming health care to trans kids. In a statement, Sam Brinton of The Trevor Project celebrated the defeat of HB 113. “These proposed bans on gender-affirming medical care are based in fear, and contradict the resounding conclusion of nearly every major medical association in the United States,” they explained.
But the work isn’t done yet. HB 112 also poses a serious threat to the mental health and wellbeing of trans and nonbinary youth. “We urge Montana lawmakers to also reconsider the ban on transgender student-athletes, and to stop it from moving forward altogether,” Brinton added.
On the same day that President Joe Biden reversed America’s infamous transgender military ban, state lawmakers in Montana voted in favor of making life even harder for trans and nonbinary youth.
This Monday, January 25, the Montana House of Representatives passed two vehemently anti-transgender bills. The first is House Bill 112, which would bar trans student athletes from playing on sports teams that correspond with their gender identity (and could cost the state a whopping $484 million in federal education funding). The second is House Bill 113, which would block medical professionals from providing potentially life-saving gender-affirming health care to trans or nonbinary youth. Both bills will now move to the state Senate for a second vote.
“[HB 113] will truly cause kids to die,” ACLU attorney and transgender advocate Chase Strangio tweeted Monday. “It hurts that we are here.”
UPDATE: A bill banning health care for trans youth has also passed the Montana House and is headed towards the Senate. https://t.co/RMZlh4c0kz
— ACLU (@ACLU) January 25, 2021
Although lawmakers in the Treasure State are using their legislative power to discriminate against trans people, President Biden has taken the opposite course of action. Also on Monday, the newly sworn-in POTUS issued an executive order reversing President Donald Trump’s trans military ban, which barred trans and gender non-conforming people from serving in the U.S. military. It’s one of two pro-LGBTQ executive orders issued by the president after less than a week in the Oval Office.
In a statement, Sam Brinton, vice president of advocacy and government affairs at The Trevor Project, condemned both bills in the Montana legislature as “unfair and unnecessary.” Trans youth are already more likely to experience mental-health issues like anxiety and depression, as well as strife brought on by isolation amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“On the same day that President Biden has moved our country forward by reversing the transgender military ban, Montana lawmakers are trying to take us a step back,” Brinton added. “Implementing these policies would be incredibly harmful to the mental health and well-being of transgender and nonbinary youth in Montana, who deserve to live their lives with dignity and respect.”