Opinion: Anti-transgender laws are harmful to queer youth

JagWire reporter Anna Zwahlen shares her opinion following the passage of anti-trans laws in Kansas

Anna Zwahlen, JagWire editor-in-chief, Mill Valley News editor-in-chief

As someone with transgender friends and family and as a queer person myself, the recent passage of various anti-trans legislation in the state of Kansas and surrounding areas is a serious concern. At present many of these bills have only targeted trans athletes, however it’s only a matter of time before other groups and facets of queer lives are targeted by similar, bigoted legislation. 

Despite the fervor with which conservatives approach the topic of transgender individuals, many of their arguments are not only invalid, but had little exigence to begin with. Take for instance the trans athlete exclusion bill: the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act: HB 2238. This sweeping bill applies to a grand total of three people in the state of Kansas, providing little cause for the outrage in the House that led to the passage of the bill.

Though this bill affects a small population, its passage raises concern for how this trend in anti-trans legislation will escalate or spread to the wider queer population which the state legislature has already begun to see in following bills.

Passed and proposed bills in the Kansas legislature highlight the alarming similarity to the trends of other states, such as Florida, which have instituted many harmful anti-queer laws in recent months such as the Parental Rights in Education Act, otherwise known as the Don’t Say Gay bill

The reality of these bills is that they do nothing but alienate and target the queer population. The kind of hate, distrust and prejudice that these bills inspire in their states is evident, as events such as the white supremacist Nazi protest outside of a drag event in Columbus Ohio, where anti-trans legislation was recently passed. 

Not only do these bills inspire discrimination against trans people, they also have detrimental impacts on young teens’ health as they are forced to deny an integral part of who they are and told it is wrong.The recent ban in Kansas of identifying as any gender other than that assigned at birth is just the start of such harmful legislation. 

Ultimately, these kinds of bills are not only unnecessary, but incredibly harmful to those that they impact. No matter what the bill is called or how it is advertised, any kind of restriction on an individual’s harmless self expression is wrong.

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