Recent surge in anti-transgender legislation affects nation’s youth

By passing bills that prevent transgender people from using their preferred name and accessing gender-affirming healthcare, transgender youth are having their societal success impeded. Since 2021 began, there have been nearly 100 anti-transgender bills, a record-breaking number.


Equal rights for all…*Protesting SB 1646 is Amber Briggle’s transgender son. This bill would change the definition of child abuse to inclue legal guardians who allow transgender minors to access gender-affirming healthcare. (Photo by Amber Briggle)*

Due to the copious anti-transgender bills being passed and considered throughout the nation this year, transgender youth are being targeted by losing access to gender-affirming health care and high school sports teams.
In Florida, HB 1475, a bill that will prohibit transgender women from participating in women’s sports was passed on April 14, 2021. This bill is set to come into effect on July 1, 2021.
The bill’s goal is “to maintain opportunities for female athletes to demonstrate their skill, strength, and athletic abilities and achieve recognition, accolades, college scholarships, and the numerous other long-term benefits.”
Along with prohibiting transgender athletes from participating in sports, this bill will require Florida schools to “resolve disputes regarding the student’s sex; requiring the school or institution to request a certain health examination… from the student’s health care provider to verify the student’s biological sex.”
Gender nonconforming teen Z Huang was originally planning on joining a school sport for the 2021-2022 school year. However, after the introduction of the bill, they are no longer planning to.
“I was planning to do a sport but I’m so genuinely terrified now because I’m trans,” Huang said. “I would love to play a sport, but now I think that it could be unsafe.”
The website American Progress promotes and advocates for the well-being of “all Americans, through bold, progressive ideas, as well as strong leadership and concerted action.”
According to American Progress, having a safe environment for trans youth is important for preserving their mental health.
American Progress believes that “where transgender youth encounter accepting and affirming policies and peers, including transgender-affirming sports policies, their risk of poor mental health and suicidality decreases—and where these supports are lacking, risk is substantially higher.”
In Arkansas, HB 1570, or Act 626, was passed on April 13, 2021. This act, which is dubbed “Save adolescents from experimentation act,” made it illegal for minors to access transgender related healthcare and as well as illegal for doctors to refer minors to trans surgery specialists.
According to Time Magazine, after the passing of this bill, Arkansas became the first state to prohibit minors from transitioning.
According to the official bill, this act was written since “studies consistently demonstrate that the majority come to identify with their biological sex in adolescence or adulthood, thereby rendering most physiological interventions unnecessary.”
According to nonbinary teen Ven, these bills are extremly harmful to transgender youth,
“These bills are…denying trans kids the healthcare they need to live as their most authentic selves,” Ven said. “The amount of dysphoria that they’ll have to deal with and the mental damage they’ll now have to endure all because of government officials.”
Another bill which came from Arkansas is HB 1479, which is currently still in the state senate. This bill, if passed, will “prohibit requiring public school and institution of higher education employees from addressing a student by a term that identifies a student as male or female and that is inconsistent with the student’s biological sex.”
For genderfluid adolescent Billie Rosenberg, “It’s upsetting that I don’t live in a country that supports my identity…It’s really hard to hear that people like me are struggling and there’s not much I can do about it.”
In North Carolina, a bill similar to HB 1479, SB 514, is being considered. As well as preventing “puberty blockers…and other related actions, procedures, and treatments,” this bill would also require government employees such as teachers and school counselors to contact parents if “ a minor under its care or supervision has exhibited symptoms of gender dysphoria… (or) gender nonconformity.”
According to Ven, “outing queer children, especially if they have homophobic parents, is so incredibly harmful.”
In Texas, SB 1311 is currently in the state senate. If passed, this bill would completely deny any transgender minors, with the exclusion of intersex minors, access to gender affirming healthcare including surgeries and medications.
Additionally, Texas legislators have passed SB 1646. This bill is set to come into effect on September 1, 2021 and changes the definition of child abuse to include legal guardians who allow transgender minors to access gender reassignment surgery or puberty blockers.
Once this bill becomes effective, “administering or supplying… a puberty suppression drug of cross-sex hormone to a child, other than an intersex child, for the purpose of gender transitioning or gender reassignment” will be considered child abuse.
According to the Associated Press, there hasn’t been any legal action taken to stop these bills. However, according to National Center for Transgender Equality deputy executive director Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, “It’s just a matter of time” before people become “outraged” about these bills.