Only a few months into 2022 and already we’ve seen record numbers of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation advance around the country.  By mid-March, over 255 anti-LGBTQ+ bills, many of them targeting trans individuals, had been introduced in legislatures across the nation. Much of the legislation blocks access to healthcare for trans youth and prohibits trans kids from participating in school sports. 

According to recent reports, more than a third of trans youth are at risk for losing healthcare due to anti-trans bills that have been signed into law or are under consideration. In 2021, Arkansas lawmakers passed a bill that banned gender affirming care. The law has not been implemented due to a lawsuit, but its future is uncertain. This year in Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott issued an order restricting access to gender-affirming medical care for trans youth and directed child protective agencies to investigate supportive parents who provide gender-affirming care to their trans children. His order was based on a non binding legal opinion that defined such support as child abuse. While investigations of families have been temporarily blocked, the order is subjecting parents and their children to unimagineable terror and imposes a substantial toll on mental health. At least 13 other states are considering similar legislation, with many measures likely to be signed into law soon. 

Some of the most egregious anti-LGBTQ bills are coming from swing states, as well as from the home states of presidential hopefuls for the 2024 elections, and that’s no accident. The anti-trans agenda being pushed by conservative lawmakers is shaping up to be a key part of their strategy ahead of midterm elections and will likely continue here in North Carolina, when the NCGA reconvenes. Fundraising and base building at the expense of trans youth is unconscionable. 

Providing gender affirming care to trans children is life saving. And the support of loving parents should be celebrated, not vilified. Nationwide, LGBTQ+ advocates and allies have been working hard to push back against this dangerous agenda. There are reasons for hope amidst all this discouraging news. At the end of March, conservative lawmakers Utah Governor Spencer J. Cox, and Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb vetoed anti-trans sports ban bills. In his remarks to GOP lawmakers, Utah Governor Spencer J. Cox pointed out that the harmful bill was aimed at only a handful of students. “Rarely has so much fear and anger been directed at so few. I don’t understand what they are going through or why they feel the way they do. But I want them to live.” The future of these bills is unclear, but we are encouraged to see this push back, especially from conservative legislators. Additionally, Freedom for All Americans noted that for every anti-lgbtq bill that has pased this year, ten have been defeated. Organizing works and we must keep pushing to defeat these attacks.

In this time of political backlash, we need to create space for trans self-expression and joy. In the face of a hostile political reaction on the right, we must keep a clear eye on the truth. Trans people are themselves. The trauma from transphobia is a policy decision. 

Our nation is facing several very real challenges including tremendous strain on our health care system, a growing mental health crisis, affordable housing shortages, poverty, and worsening impacts from climate change all of which disproportionately impact LBGTQ+ and BIPOC communities. We need our politicians to address this nation’s critical needs, not fabricate ‘solutions’ in search of a problem. 

We hope you’ll join us as we continue to fight for lived equality! Get ready for the upcoming legislative session by becoming a member of ENC Crew. You’ll get early access to breaking news and information on how to help.Join us today! We can’t win this fight without you.