Opinion / The Nation and the World

The Anti-Trans Movement needs to be addressed as a nationwide issue, not a regional one

After the great advancements that have been made in terms of equal opportunities and rights for people part of the lgbtq+ community, these recent few years have been a sad regression that is a step back in terms of the inclusivity and equal access to care that many have fought for in the past. I believe the first step to countering this movement of hate and prejudice is acknowledging that the problem goes beyond a few ‘backward’ states like Florida that can be frowned upon and dismissed. The fact is that these harmful ideas that transgender people do not deserve the same opportunities have spread across the country into the very governmental foundations. Not only do the more extreme of these laws restrict and endanger transgender individuals in their everyday lives, but also damage trans youth’s perceptions of themselves who have to see their existence get invalidated on such a widespread and national scale.

These recent upward trends in proposals of discriminatory bills passed by states like Florida and Texas are restricting the rights of the lgbtq+ community, specifically targeted toward transgender youth. However, this type of harmful legislature is not restricted to only ultra-conservative states like many believe. In fact, transphobic laws and ideals are being spread at a far greater scale throughout the country and need to be extensively addressed. One of the most well-known and publicized legislation is “FL HB1557” also known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill signed by Ron DeSantis, Florida’s governor, according to NPR. It declares that information concerning gender identity, sexual health, or sexuality is not allowed to be part of the school curriculum. This seriously hinders the right to education on such topics for children during an age when they are discovering themselves and their identities. 

However, these sorts of similar discriminatory jurisdictions are not limited to the most well-known instances that could be dismissed as outliers. In fact, according to AP News, trans representative Zooey Zephyr of Montana was silenced on her state’s House floor and denied her further comments from being heard when she spoke against the ban on gender-affirming care. Even states like Minnesota which has been more liberal-leaning and a blue state in the past, have seen an increase in the introduction of bills ranging from “MN HF551” which restricts women’s sports teams to only those of “the female sex,” to “MN HF3264” which enforces criminal penalties for medical professionals performing certain gender affirming practices on minors, according to Trans Legislation Tracker. This tracker also displays that across 49 states in the United States, 543 anti-trans bills have been proposed in 2023 alone, with 70 of them passed and 372 still currently active. Delaware is currently the only state in the U.S. without any such legislation. 

Although it is always easy for those of us in liberal states to pride ourselves on our progressive principles and institutions and there is a tendency to sit back and condemn the other states that we deem not as ‘educated’ or ‘modern’, this is not an effective mindset to possess. Viewing the state of our country in this way through developing a superiority complex about our ideals, is misplaced when so many people across our nation are being negatively impacted by transphobic movements. It is important to view these issues holistically, not as something each separate state has to solve, but rather as a problem that needs to be fundamentally addressed across the board. Only when everyone can unite against these ideas and laws formed from hate and ignorance, can all the transgender citizens of this country feel safe, valued, and equal. 

Image Source: The Washington Post

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