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State Legislators Proposed 306 Bills Targeting Trans People in the Past 2 Years

Lawmakers in more than half of U.S. states have sought to restrict access to gender-affirming care.

People protest in support of trans rights in St. Paul, Minnesota, on March 6, 2022.

An analysis released Monday by NPR details what one rights advocacy group called the Republican Party’s “obsession” with curtailing the rights of transgender people, with U.S. state legislators proposing more than 300 pieces of legislation targeting the community over the past two years.

Lawmakers in every region of the United States have put forward a total of 306 anti-trans bills since 2020, with 86% of the bills focusing on transgender youths.

“Right-wing state lawmakers are obsessed with taking away the rights of trans people and we’re obsessed with knocking them out of public office,” said Agenda PAC, which works to hold anti-LGBTQ+ politicians accountable.

Fifteen percent of the bills have become law, including total bans on gender-affirming healthcare for transgender youths in Alabama and Arkansas; bans on students using bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond to their gender rather than sex assigned at birth in Tennessee, Alabama, and Oklahoma; and similar restrictions for school sports teams in at least 19 states.

Some of the proposals are based in — and threaten to perpetuate — misinformation about transgender people, including a Tennessee law which bars medical professionals from providing hormone treatments to prepubescent children. Experts on transgender health only recommend hormone treatment once a child has entered puberty.

“Frankly, I really do think that the end goal is to ban trans-affirming medical care, period… which should scare people a lot more than it does because access to gender-affirming care is fundamentally an issue of bodily autonomy,” Alex Petrovnia, president of the Trans Formations Project, told NPR.

Lawmakers in more than half of states have sought to restrict access to gender-affirming care, despite evidence that such bans are harmful to the safety of young transgender people.

The Trevor Project, which advocates for LGBTQ+ youth, released a poll in January showing that 85% of transgender and nonbinary young people felt their mental health was negatively affected by legislation targeting their rights and their ability to live according to their gender.

A study by the University of Washington found earlier this year that transgender and nonbinary youth, ranging in age from 13 to 20, were 60% less likely to experience depression and 73% less likely to have suicidal thoughts and engage in self-harm if they received gender-affirming care including puberty blockers and hormonal treatment.

NPR’s reporting reveals that “trans people — youth especially — continue to be under attack,” said the Gender Justice Fund, an advocacy group based in Philadelphia.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) noted that the Equality Act, which would prohibit discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity, has passed in the U.S. House, but has yet to pass in the Senate due to the legislative filibuster, which effectively requires 60 votes for bills to pass instead of a simple majority.

“Trans rights are human rights,” said Jayapal, who is the mother of a transgender child.