During the first week of April, the North Carolina Legislature filed a series of bills targeting the rights of Trans youth in sports and healthcare.
SB 631 and its companion bill HB 574 ban Trans students from participating on the team consistent with their gender, and SB 636 bans trans and intersex girls from sports. This legislation is a direct attack on the rights of LGBTQ+ youth and will prevent many trans and intersex kids from participating in athletics at the middle school and high school level.
Participation in athletics has been shown to benefit LGBTQ+ youth mental health and affords them the same opportunities as their peers to form friendships and learn important life lessons through sports. Conversely, anti-trans athletic bans only increase existing mental health risks for trans youth and do nothing to benefit women’s and girls’ sports. Schools should be a safe place for LGBTQ+ youth to explore and express their identities, not a space for bigoted lawmakers to push their discriminatory and anti-LGBTQ+ agenda.
Legislators also filed two bills restricting or banning gender-affirming care for trans youth. SB 560 restricts gender-affirming care for minors, introducing unnecessary requirements for youth, families, and healthcare providers.
These include banning telehealth visits for gender-affirming counseling and treatment, mandating new consent and waiting period requirements, and banning providers of gender-affirming care from receiving public funds. SB 639 bans life-saving treatment for trans youth, making it unlawful for healthcare and mental healthcare professionals to provide gender-affirming care.
Both bills are designed to intimidate healthcare providers and will endanger the lives of many trans youth, especially impacting those who already lack access to gender-affirming healthcare. Yet another bill filed, SB 641 gives medical providers license to discriminate in providing healthcare.
Far-right lawmakers are targeting LGBTQ+ youth across the nation at an unprecedented level, with more anti-trans legislation filed in 2022 than at any other point in the history of the country. Queer and trans kids deserve to grow up in a world where their identities are not constantly under attack.
“We are outraged to see lawmakers target our most vulnerable youth,” said Equality NC Executive Director Kendra R. Johnson. “Banning kids from playing sports because of who they are prevents them from having positive and formative experiences at school. And preventing parents from making decisions on their child’s healthcare is harmful and life-threatening.
“These bills do nothing to address the real issues facing our youth, like gun violence in schools or the mental health crisis. Instead of working to make schools safe environments, our lawmakers are bullying queer and trans kids.’