A slew of bills attacking transgender and LGBTQ rights will go up for debate across the United States this week.
State governments in Iowa, Missouri, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Virginia will hold hearings on bills covering everything from gender-affirming care to bans on drag performances.
Some of the bills will prevent trans people from changing their birth certificates to reflect their gender identity or will set a legal definition of gender that excludes them. In Iowa, the House Education Committee will discuss a bill that would require teachers to out transgender students.
Bills in Virginia, New Hampshire, South Dakota, and Tennessee ban gender-affirming care for anyone under the age 18 and prohibit the use of public funds such as Medicaid for gender-affirming care for people over 18.
Proponents of anti-trans legislation argue they are trying to protect children. But as critics point out, it’s not about the kids—it’s about stopping anyone from transitioning. And if anything, bills such as these could make life more dangerous for young queer people, as protests against drag shows and even children’s hospitals have escalated.
“State lawmakers pushing anti-LGBTQ+ bills and spewing dangerous rhetoric towards our community has led to more stigma, discrimination, and ultimately, deadly violence—particularly against the transgender community,” Sarah Warbelow, the legal director of the Human Rights Campaign, told Salon.
Republicans have made it very clear that they are targeting women and gender minorities. The raft of cruel legislation comes just days after a Florida panel recommended requiring student athletes to give their menstrual history to their school. Meanwhile, on a national level, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives included transphobic policy items in the new rules package.