It's Not Just Florida

By Hubert Plummer posted 04-27-2023 02:50 PM


I just wrote about Florida and their attacks on transgender people, especially kids. Well, they are not alone.  Texas, Missouri, Montana, Kansas and North Dakota have all collectively said, “Hold my beer.”

Let’s start in Montana.  Montanans recently elected their first out transgender legislator, Zooey Zephyr.  Ms. Zephyr is a Democrat elected this year to the Montana House of Representatives.  In the course of debating a bill that would outlaw gender confirming care for transgender youth, Zephyr made the following statement,"...If you are forcing a trans child to go through puberty when they are trans, that is tantamount to torture, and this body should be ashamed." In response to a Republican objection, she said, "The only thing I will say is if you vote 'yes' on this bill and 'yes' on these amendments, I hope the next time there's an invocation when you bow your heads in prayer, you see the blood on your hands."[i]

She was then barred from speaking on any issues in the House chamber.  Taking a page from the Tennessee playbook, The Montana House of Representatives held a vote on April 26, 2023 on a proposal to sanction Zephyr's actions during the protest on April 24. After a speech by Zephyr and a brief debate limited to three speakers on each side, the House voted 68–32 along party lines to bar Zephyr from the House floor, gallery, and antechamber until the adjournment of the 2023 session the first week of May. She was allowed the option to vote remotely for the remainder of the session.[ii]

It seems that Montana Republicans are so offended by a transgender woman speaking passionately on a topic especially important to her that they will place a muzzle on her preventing future discussion.

Texas has made their own strides in attacking transgender kids and adults.  A few days ago, the Texas Commissioner of Agriculture, Sid Miller, has issued an order that all employees, interns and contractors of the department must dress in clothes that are appropriate to their biological gender.  “Employees are expected to comply with this dress code in a manner consistent with their biological gender.”[iii]

The ACLU says that this policy violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.[iv]

But Texas is just getting started.  Last week the Texas House Public Health Committee advanced a House and a Senate Bill that will outlaw gender confirming care for trans kids, including requiring children that are already receiving care be weaned off the medications.[v]  So far, most states that have restricted care for children have included an exemption for kids already in care to continue.

Now a bill introduced in the Texas Senate would effectively outlaw gender affirming care for all transgender people, including adults.[vi]  The proposed bill will ban any public funding for gender confirming care and place impossibly burdensome restraints on doctors and insurance providers that that will force them out of providing care.  It would bar insurance from covering gender care, and increase the malpractice liability on doctors.

Texas Republicans have introduced over 70 anti-transgender bills since the beginning of this year.  Last year, Governor Abbott directed all State Health Agencies to investigate transgender care as possible child abuse, but a Judge blocked that order.

Texas’s tactics are following the same strategy that they used to push abortion providers from the state and will continue using them for more issues like same sex marriage and birth control.

Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey has proffered emergency rules that put barriers before transgender care for kids and adults.[vii]  These rules require that patients have received at least 15 hours of therapy over 18 months and  been screened for autism and has not had documented gender dysphoria for 3 years.  It also requires that all other mental health issues be addressed before gender care can begin.  This of course ignores the fact that gender dysphoria is often the root cause of many mental health issues like depression and anxiety.

Today, a St. Louis, County Judge put an injunction on the proposed order so it is not going into effect until it can be reviewed by the Court.[viii]  The Missouri ACLU and others filed suit to block these proposed rules.  The Missouri AG’s office tried to have the case moved to Federal Court, thinking they would have a more sympathetic Judge, but that was denied pending a full hearing.[ix]

Kansas has just passed what many are calling the most sweeping anti-trans bathroom bill yet.  The new aspect to this is that the bill explicitly defines male and female based on their reproductive anatomy at birth.  It states that this issue is of high importance for the State to protect its citizens.[x]  This bill was passed with a large enough majority to override the expected veto by the Governor.

North Dakota has enacted a transgender care ban for youth, a transgender athlete ban for kids and an anti-trans bathroom bill.  The care ban makes providing gender care a felony facing up to 10 years in prison.[xi]  The bathroom law includes locker rooms and college dorms. These bans have also passed with a veto proof majority.

This furor is making its way across the Atlantic.  A 54 year old transwoman ran the London marathon and finished in 6,159th place and people are upset because she took away a place for other women.  Apparently a woman who finishes, for example, in 10,000th place is upset she didn’t get 9,999th place.[xii]

One bright spot is that the US Department of Justice has sued Tennessee saying that their ban on gender confirming care for children is unconstitutional.[xiii]  We’ll be keeping an eye on this one.

I haven’t come close to mentioning all the anti-trans legislation happening now.  So, this isn’t getting better anytime soon.  As I said in my last blog, like Florida, these Republicans are choosing oppression.

The author[s] is solely responsible for this blog submission.  It does not represent the position of the New York State Bar Association or its Committee.

[ii] Ibid