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Today is International Transgender Day of Visibility. Fittingly, many activists are taking the opportunity to call for help in fighting anti-transgender legislation in the U.S. (Related: How Nicole Maines Is Paving the Way for the Next Generation of LGBTQ Youth)
If you're just catching up, several states are currently considering anti-transgender bills, many of which would prohibit health care for trans and non-binary youth, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). For example, Arkansas just became the first state to pass a bill that would deny transgender people under 18 access to gender-affirming health care (think: hormone replacement therapy and puberty-blocking medication), according to NPR. Now that the Arkansas Senate has passed the bill, the legislation will go to Governor Asa Hutchinson, who will either veto the bill or sign it into law.
ICYDK, gender-affirming health care not only addresses a trans person's physical, social, and mental health needs while affirming their gender identity, but research also suggests that lack of access to this care can negatively impact a transgender person's mental health.
With so much at stake, activists such as Chase Strangio, deputy director for transgender justice at the ACLU, are drawing attention to the bill and providing guidance on how to contact Gov. Hutchinson to call for him to veto the legislation. (Related: Nicole Maines and Isis King Shared Their Advice for Young Transgender Women)
As if a slew of bills limiting health care to trans people wasn't bad enough, more than half of U.S. states are also considering legislation that would exclude transgender youth from sports, according to the ACLU. Gov. Hutchinson signed one such bill last week, making Arkansas the second state (Idaho was the first) to approve this type of law, according to The Associated Press. The law bans trans women and girls from competing in women's school sports teams from kindergarten through college.
Similarly, the Mississippi Senate and House recently voted to pass a bill that will ban transgender athletes from competing on girls' and women's sports teams in high school and college. (Related: How Does Transitioning Affect a Transgender Athlete's Sports Performance?)
You may recall that on his first day in office, President Joe Biden signed an important executive order that, in essence, enforces federal laws prohibiting sex-based discrimination to include discrimination based on a person's sexual orientation and gender identity. While this was a major win for the LGBTQ+ community, the aforementioned legislation on the state level could present many possible setbacks.
As many LGBTQ+ advocates are pointing out through their posts, this International Transgender Day of Visibility is the perfect opportunity to take action in order to help protect trans people's rights.