GOP’s Record Wave of Child Protection Bills Trigger Transgender Advocates

Caption:A girl looks on during the 'Queer Azadi March' freedom march for lesbian, gay, bis

Pro-transgender groups are complaining GOP legislators are pushing a record number of bills to protect children from dangerous drugs and cosmetic surgery, and to exclude males from women’s sports.

Complaints are coming from media outlets such as CNN, as well as the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and the American Civil Liberties Union, which once sought to protect free speech.

CNN reported on the 33 states and 117 bills in those states focused on these and related issues and also on legislation to protect women in private spaces like locker rooms or bathrooms. The media outlet used the language HRC promotes to describe biological men and women who choose to live as the opposite sex.

On April 6, Arkansas became the first state to outlaw providing gender-changing treatment to minors, a move that the American Civil Liberties Union said would “send a terrible and heartbreaking message” to transgender youth across the country.

The majority of bills would affect transgender youth, a group researchers and medical professionals warn is already susceptible to high rates of suicide and depression.

Thirty-one states introduced bills banning transgender athletes from participating in sports consistent with their gender identities. Three states — Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee — have already signed these bills into law this year. A similar 2020 law in Idaho was swiftly struck down in federal court.

“I think that these exclusionary responses are a solution in search of a problem,” Melanie Willingham-Jaggers, interim director of GLSEN, an LGBTQ advocacy group aimed at youth, said in the CNN report. “There is no categorical dominance by trans athletes, but we do understand the categorical benefits for young people who play sports.”

The CNN report mentions the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a “conservative legal group,” but did speak to anyone in the group or link to its website, which contains data to contradict what Willingham-Jaggers said.

The ADF interviewed Selina Soule, one of three high school athletes in Connecticut who sued the state’s athletic association for allowing biological men to compete against biological women based on their gender identity:

During Selina’s four years in high school, that policy resulted in two biological males winning 15 women’s state championship titles in track and field—titles that were previously held by nine different girls. Within just three years, girls across the state were denied over 85 chances to compete in elite athletic competitions.

Selina was one of those girls.

Clearly, this policy isn’t fair. Men and women are different—and those differences matter, particularly in athletes. A majority of Americans agree. Recent polls show that 74 percent of Californians and 77 percent of likely voters from swing states oppose male athletes competing in women’s sports.

“Why is it so important for girls and women to have separate sports teams?” the ADF asked Soule.

Soule said:

Boys will always have a physical advantage over girls. That’s why we have women’s sports in the first place. Science and common sense show us that boys are, on average, stronger and faster than girls. So it’s fundamentally unfair to let male athletes come in and dominate girls’ sports.

“Female athletes deserve the same opportunity as boys to excel and chase our dreams,” Soule said. “But allowing male athletes to compete in girls’ sports shatters those dreams and takes away opportunities that so many of us have spent years working to obtain.”

CNN reported 20 states have introduced bills that prohibit or prevent minors from undergoing life-altering drug treatment or surgery. A bill recently introduced in Alabama would make it a felony for medical providers to provide “transition-related care to transgender minors.”

CNN used other left-wing sources, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law to promote the idea that these bills are harmful.

“Trans youth are dependent on parents, schools, institutions, and pediatricians to support them, in living authentically and to access gender-affirming care — and now on policy makers to facilitate or deny access to care,” Kerith Conron, research director at the Williams Institute, told CNN. “It places trans youth in a precarious place.”

“These laws are not grounded in science or majority medical opinion and have strong implications for the survival of trans youth in these states …  and for long-term quality of life for those who make it through adolescence,” Conron said.

But the Save Women’s Sports website has a vast amount of scientific data from experts on the biological differences between men and women that can’t be changed by hormone or other drug treatments.

CNN also reported on a bill in Iowa that allows parents to have the right to refuse to have their children taught about “gender identity.”

According to CNN, an Arkansas bill “says that educators must refer to students only by their ‘biological sex,’ a disputed term that refers to the sex as listed on students’ original birth certificates. Medical experts say one’s biological sex should not be used to challenge people’s own assertions about their gender identities.”

Tennessee’s lawmakers are debating HB 529, “which would allow parents to opt their children out of curriculums that discuss LGBTQ issues, and HB 800, which would prohibit educators from discussing LGBTQ issues in the classroom.”

Arizona, Montana, and South Dakota introduced bills requiring ID cards to reflect one’s biological sex.

Iowa introduced a bill removing gender identity as a protected class under the Iowa civil rights act, according to CNN.

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