ID Anti-Trans Laws Tied to Anti-Democracy Movement, Group Says
Monday, April 17, 2023
Idaho lawmakers passed several measures this session that target transgender people. One group says this effort is connected to a wider movement to weaken democracy.
One of the most controversial pieces of legislation passed was a measure that bans gender affirming care for youth.
But Kate Bitz, program manager and trainer-organizer with Western States Center, noted that this and other measures have been introduced in previous sessions.
"What we're seeing is a culmination of some of the really horrible claims that we've seen made about transgender people over the past years," said Bitz, "and obviously this is a tragic situation for the entire community in Idaho, and especially for trans kids."
Bitz said Idaho is a bellwether for these issues, noting that state lawmakers passed legislation in 2020 that banned transgender athletes in school sports - a law that has become ubiquitous in Republican controlled states.
Bitz said these states have followed a template of sorts, introducing bills attacking the right to vote alongside the rights of transgender people.
"These kind of repressive, anti-transgender laws can't be divorced from attempts to make it harder for ordinary people to do things," said Bitz, "like run ballot measures, access quality public education or even vote in primary elections that can be very decisive for state and local politics."
Bitz said some people might feel like they aren't affected by anti-transgender laws.
But she pointed to attempts in Missouri to defund public libraries because of a lawsuit challenging the state's ban of certain books, many of which feature LGBTQ characters.
"It's pretty much a very slippery slope," said Bitz, "from people trying to create a panic about the idea that a transgender child can live their truth, to your own kid being unable to participate in school sports because somebody decided that means you have to defund the entire public education system."
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