A new report from the Human Rights Campaign reveals that 44 bills targeting transgender people have been brought forward across 16 states. Twenty-three of those bills target transgender children.
The onslaught compares to the twenty-one anti-transgender bills which were filed last year.
HRC called the anti-trans legislation “unprecedented,” “harmful” and “alarming.” According to a release accompanying the report, some bills seek to make it harder for trans people to access gender-affirming health care, others deny trans people access to bathrooms, locker rooms, and athletic teams that align with their gender identity.
HRC will continue to work with our state and national partners to vigorously oppose and work to defeat legislation that threatens the fundamental human rights of transgender people.
As we work to defeat these discriminatory bills, we will also continue our efforts to advance critically-needed protections at the state, local, and ultimately the federal level for LGBT people all across this country.
--Chad Griffin, HRC president
Right now, South Dakota is on the verge of becoming the first state in the nation to prevent trans students from using restrooms and other facilities in public schools that are consistent with their gender identity. All it will take is the signature of Gov. Dennis Daugaard, who has promised to meet with activists and allies this week before signing the bill, which appears likely given he is also meeting with some of the bill’s sponsors.
And while it may be the first, South Dakota is hardly alone. Other pending bills would deny transgender people equal access to restrooms in public places, “from the coffee shop to city hall,” according to HRC. The organization reports that nearly one-third of the anti-so-called “bathroom bills” would apply to multi-user restrooms, locker rooms and similar facilities statewide in dozens of places. and violating the law, if passed, could lead to criminal prosecution of transgender people just for using restrooms that match their identity.
In addition, Georgia is paving the way in a movement to push First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) bills which would legalize discrimination against trans people. A measure approved by the Georgia senate last week is to be considered in the Georgia House of Representatives this week, and would explicitly permit publicly-funded programs to refuse service on the basis of “sincerely-held religious beliefs” that a person’s gender is determined by their anatomy at the time of birth.