Gov. Laura Kelly on Kansas anti-trans bill “We don’t want to go down that Road”

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly added her name Monday to a growing number of state leaders that are having second thoughts about anti-trans bills reaching on their desks.

On Monday Gov. Kelly commented on the trans sports ban that would block transgender women from participating in women’s athletics saying that it would be bad for Kansas kids and businesses alike.

The bill passed by both sides of the Kansas Legislature would make Kansas public schools and state college teams set up designations for sports based on biological sex: male, female or coed. It would ban any transgender athlete biologically born male from participating in women’s sports.

“I can tell you that we know from past experience not only what this will do, how it will make these kids feel, and how it might exacerbate some of the mental health issues that we’re already seeing. But, we also know just from a business sense how we don’t want to go down that road. We know that when, for instance, North Carolina passed an anti-trans bill a few years ago, overnight they lost $400 million in convention business… It probably totaled up into the billions of dollars of businesses who decided not to make new capital investments in their state because of that. Kansas doesn’t need to be passing any sorts of anti-progressive or really regressive legislation.”

The governor said she hasn’t seen the bill yet. Kelly added that she won’t declare whether she will veto it until she reads it, but shared her intentions based on what she knows from similar bills.

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HRC LOST Trans people in 2007 – Now they are losing our Human Rights

I was a part of a national transgender movement protesting HRC in Dallas, Austin, Houston, and New Orleans. 12 more protests happened around the country before HRC began to accept trans people couldn’t be erased.

HRC and the equality Federation lost the transgender community in 2007 by being complicit with Congressman Barney Franks when he divided the workplace protections act ENDA into SENDA(sex) and GENDA(gender).

Today I am sitting in a room with Equality Texas members waiting to testify. I am surrounded by scowling faces. I feel othered, unwanted, and reviled, even hated.

I showed planet transgender to an inquisitive parent of a trans girl. Her response was “what good is that?”

That is our history, lady.

It was getting late and the prospect of testifying against another anti-trans bill in front of THE SAME hateful committee faces was too much to take. I am 62. I am tired and too old for this mess so I went home.

See, I was the only one in that room who had protested HRC shaming them to acknowledge our existence in 2007. We brought HRC to their knees, forced Joe Solomenese to resign, and an apology at the Southern Comfort Conference from the incoming president, Alphonso David.

A must-read. Washington Blade : “10 years later, firestorm over gay-only ENDA vote still informs movement.”

HRC has been in losing a battle against right-wing hate groups ever since and they have no one to blame but themselves.

This year there are 20 anti-transgender bills in Texas alone. Most of those will pass now that House Speaker Joe Stauss, our saving grace was forced out.

Two weeks before I saw the power of allyship in Arkansas when we gathered in Little Rock. Most of the people there weren’t LGBT. Just concerned friends and pediatricians and not a single HRC sign insight. They lost that fight but I never once felt out of place, othered, or hated.

I will gladly return to Little Rock to stand by my community when the time is right.

That community feeling was missing again in Texas. I was persona non grata in 2017 when I testified against the Bathroom bill in Austin. But it didn’t matter because I had transgender contemporaries to stand with. But no one came this year. Not one person.

They asked me if I wanted to testify again. I answered yes. They want me to meet them at the Equality Texas office, a place I have never been, to march over to the Legislative building in a show of solidarity.

Solidarity? Really? Good, God!

There is no doubt that HRC and Equality Texas has played a part in losing our personal freedoms. But I can’t help but wonder if this wasn’t at least in part, by design. As long as the battle for trans rights continues the Equality Federation and HRC have a mission.

Meanwhile, those young people just keep dying.

The only saving grace will be President Biden. On his 99th day in office, he is making the highly unusual move to address a joint session of Congress in his first speech to the nation.

News outlets are saying he will pitch his infrastructure plan. I hope and pray he will also be announcing the results of his 100-day plan to identify states like Texas and Arkansas and make good on this threat to defund them if they refuse to comply with the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

If he does President Biden will be our savior on a national scale just as Republican Joe Strauss was in Texas.

I believe in miracles and that #TransRightsAreHumanRights.

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OK Trans woman refused Covid-19 vaccination because of ‘mismatched id’

An Oklahoma transgender woman was refused her first covid-19 vaccination by Logan County Health Center due to a “mismatched id.”

She told the Logan County official that she was waiting for her updated ID but she hadn’t yet received it. The official told her she couldn’t get vaccinated and to ‘take it up with the state’.

The transgender victim decided wisely not to reveal her name to the local TV station.

Freedom Oklahoma a statewide advocacy group asked @healthyOklahoma why she was told to ‘take it up with the state’.

Logan County Health Center

They weren’t “aware” of the situation until they were embarrassed enough to answer a tweet.

Freedom Oklahoma verified that the transgender woman was able to get vaccinated Friday when she returned to the Logan County site.

Logan County Health Center

Three Years To Life in prison for assisting a transgender person

Oklahoma state legislature has five anti-transgender bills in the works from trans healthcare to sports. The worst is SB 676 a bill that would make anyone knowledgeable of a person 21 years of age transitioning a felon. They would be punishable by imprisonment in the custody of the Department of Corrections for a term of not less than three (3) years nor more than life and a fine of not more than Twenty Thousand Dollars.

Tell me that is an isolated event. 21 GOP-controlled states have passed or in the process of enacting bills attacking transgender adolescents’ right to life. This is about the GOP controlling bodies that they hate.

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Poll: 70% of Republicans oppose bills criminalizing transgender healthcare

Two-thirds of Americans are against laws that would limit transgender rights, a new PBS NewsHour/NPR/Marist poll found. That opposition includes majorities of every political ideology from liberal to conservative and every age group.

Most Americans who oppose anti-transgender legislation have met us. According to the PBS NewsHour/NPR/Marist poll, more than half of Americans say they personally know someone who is transgender. That includes 53 percent of Democrats, 39 percent of Republicans, and 61 percent of independents.

Transgender visibility.

“It’s really hard once you’re informed or you know a trans person to support one of these bills because it really strikes at the humanity of a trans person,” said Kate Sosin, who reports on LGBTQ+ issues at The 19th.

“More than half of people do know transgender people and that number is only going to go up…and if that is the case, this is inevitably going to be a losing issue for lawmakers trying to make this a wedge issue, because even if you don’t support transgender rights, you don’t want to be the lawmaker pushing something that is seen as bigoted,” said Sosin.

I have experienced the same feeling in the heart of Texas. During the previous administration, right-leaning Texans were angry often displaying that in road rage. Having a Honda Civic with a transgender Biden flag on it I was often targeted with that anger. But in recent weeks Texan curtesy, an ingrained part of our southern culture has returned to the roadways. It is truly remarkable and welcomed. I am first and foremost a Texan. I love my land and the diverse people who live here. And I believe that feeling is mutual.

The most far-reaching bills introduced this year would limit transgender youth from accessing gender-affirming medical care. Twenty-one state legislatures have considered such bills this year, according to the Williams Institute at UCLA, which also estimates more than 45,000 youth could be affected, including nearly 1,500 kids in Arkansas who will lose medical care after the state became the first in the country to enact such a law just last week.

Fewer than three in ten people support state laws that prohibit gender-affirming care for minors or that criminalize providers of that care. Among Republicans, 26 percent support bills that prohibit this medical care, while 70 percent are opposed. That’s on par with where Democrats landed on the issue, with 26 percent in favor of such bills and 69 percent opposed.

Read the full PBS article to understand how far we have come and how very far we have to go.

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Families rally in Austin against anti-transgender healthcare legislation

HB 1399 denies insurance to doctors who prescribe puberty blockers to children diagnosed with gender dysphoria, but doctors with cisgender patients diagnosed with “precocious puberty” may receive the same medication without penalty. This destroys the bill sponsors’ contention that the medication is experimental and those who prescribe it are committing child abuse.

More than a hundred parents and their children railed in Austin Wednesday against Texas anti-trans legislation. They gathered in the rotunda before testifying in committee against the bills speaking passionately on how it would adversely affect their families.

HB 1399 would tell insurance companies that they can’t ensure doctors who prescribe puberty blockers to transgender children. However, a carveout just made allowing insurance companies the option to insure those doctors who prescribe the same hormone blockers to cisgender children.

CBS Austin: Despite immense opposition, the texas senate advanced a bill barring transgender students from playing ssports.

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Man responsible for writing 60 anti-transgender bills Identified

We have known for quite some time that the 60 anti-trans boilerplate legislation moving through state legislatures had to have a common origin. They all said the same thing except with a few words changed. These edits were done after the bill was placed in republicans’ hands to obscure the origin of the bill and make it appear as if the sponsor authored it.

The Alliance Defending Freedom an Arizona hate group has no qualms with admitting that they authored the legislation.

Imagine if this was being done to anyone else?

The Southern Poverty Law Center explains why the Alliance Defending Freedom, a so-called Christian group must be considered a hate group.

The SPLC lists ADF as a hate group because it has supported the idea that being LGBTQ+ should be a crime in the U.S. and abroad and believes that is OK to put LGBTQ+ people in prison for engaging in consensual sex. It has also supported laws that required the forced sterilization of transgender Europeans.

ADF has spread lies about the LGBTQ+ community. It has, for example, linked being LGBTQ+ to pedophilia and claimed that a “homosexual agenda” will destroy society. ADF tries to couch its rhetoric in benign-sounding phrases, but the truth is that it works to dehumanize LGBTQ+ people and restrict their rights for being who they are.

ADF has played a role in the passage of religious exemption laws that lead to discrimination against LGBTQ+ people, such as Mississippi’s HB 1523, and has litigated lawsuits that target transgender students in public schools by denying them access to bathrooms in accordance with their gender identities and attempting to ban transgender women from competing in women’s sports. ADF is one of the groups pushing legislation on the state level — including Idaho’s HB 500, which was signed into law by Gov. Brad Little in March 2020 — as part of a nationwide campaign to exclude transgender girls and women in school sports and deny their identities. ADF is not only attempting to erase transgender people through its litigation and policy work but by deliberately misgendering them in media and on its website.

Anti-LGBTQ hate groups, like ADF, often try to justify their opposition to LGBTQ+ rights with rhetoric and harmful pseudoscience that demonizes LGBTQ+ people as threats to children, society and, often, public health.

In 2019, the SPLC documented a sharp increase in the number of anti-LGBTQ hate groups — a 43% increase over 2018.

The SPLC defines a hate group as an organization that, based on its official statements or principles, the statements of its leaders, or its activities, has beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics. The organizations on our hate group list vilify others because of their race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity — prejudices that strike at the heart of our democratic values and fracture society along its most fragile fault lines. The FBI uses similar criteria in its definition of a hate crime.

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Black Trans woman elected to a School Board the First in the Nation

If you are a member of Maines’s Passamaquoddy Tribe or if your transgender student attends Decatur Public School in District 61, you can rest easy. Both school boards now have transgender board members to look after your child’s safety.

Geo Soctomah Neptune, (They/Them), a Two Spirit educator, Master basket Maker, and Idle No More activist of the Passamaquoddy Tribe was elected to the Indian Township school board Wednesday. September 9th, 2020. According to records, Neptune is the first non-binary trans person to be elected in the state of Maine and possibly the nation.

WCIA reports that Alana Banks became the first black trans-binary woman to be elected to a school board in the entire country.

“It’s always a big focus for Alana to champion LGBT rights for students,” said childhood friend and campaign aid Anay Hunt. “Within that age range, it is so important to look at someone like them that is out there making a positive change.”

Banks, a binary transgender woman, ran on policies such as safely returning to school, establishing permanent e-learning options and being open about mental health and one’s identity.

One of her campaign aids, Astrid Prater, believes it is the first step among many towards acceptance and equality for the LGBT community.

“I think we need to look at this moment with Alana to know that our community can change, it can grow and it can get better,” Prater said.

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NCAA Tells Texas It will move events from states that discriminate

As Texas Legislature considers anti-trans bills, NCAA announces it will not hold events in states that discriminate against trans students” was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

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The National Collegiate Athletic Association Board of Governors said it will only hold college championships in states where transgender student-athletes can participate without discrimination. The Monday warning sets the stage for a political fight with multiple states, including Texas, that are considering bills in their legislatures that would require students to play sports with only teammates who align with their biological sex.

“Inclusion and fairness can coexist for all student-athletes, including transgender athletes, at all levels of sport,” the NCAA statement said. “Our clear expectation as the Association’s top governing body is that all student-athletes will be treated with dignity and respect. We are committed to ensuring that NCAA championships are open for all who earn the right to compete in them.”

Texas lawmakers have filed six bills that target transgender students’ sports participation — but only two of those bills would affect colleges and university sports in addition to K-12. While most of the proposals have not yet received a hearing, one bill, which was named a Senate priority, recently advanced out of a Senate State Affairs Committee to the full chamber for a vote. It would require the University Interscholastic League, which runs K-12 sports, to amend its rules to only let students play sports with students who match their biological sex as determined at birth or on their birth certificate. If passed, it would go in effect Sept. 1.

Reps. Cole Hefner, R-Mount Pleasant, and Valoree Swanson, R-Spring, who authored the two bills affecting college and university student athletes, were not immediately available for comment. Their bills have not yet been scheduled for hearings.

Lawmakers in Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee have already passed bills that would bar transgender girls from participating in women’s sports. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, more than 30 states are considering similar bills that would limit transgender students sports participation.

Texas lawmakers are also considering a bill that would classify providing children with puberty suppression drugs or performing gender reassignment surgery as child abuse. Another bill would revoke a doctor’s medical license if they perform a sex reassignment surgery for the purpose of gender reassignment to people under 18 years old or prescribe “puberty blockers.” Puberty blockers are reversible drugs often used by a transgender child who wants to delay puberty, including changes such as starting a period or deepening voice. The bill would also prohibit gender-confirming surgeries and hormone therapies. The Senate State Affairs Committee heard testimony on both bills Monday, but took no action on the legislation.

The recent NCAA women’s basketball tournament was held in Texas. Multiple games in the 2022 NCAA men’s March Madness tournament are already scheduled to be played in Fort Worth and San Antonio.

During previous legislative sessions, Texas Republicans, like those in other states, unsuccessfully pursued so-called “bathroom bills” that would prevent transgender people from using the bathroom that matched their gender identity. Business leaders at the time came forward with their opposition to the anti-transgender legislation —a trend that is re-emerging this session.

The NCAA’s statement comes as corporations are vocalizing their opposition to other conservative efforts, including proposed changes to Texas voting laws. Multiple Texas based companies, including Dell and American Airlines, spoke out against the proposed law earlier this month.

LGBTQ advocates said conservatives across the country are latching onto issues related to athletics and health care as the latest way to spread fear about transgender children using inaccurate information, despite opposition from medical and athletic associations.

Equality Texas held a press conference outside the Capitol building Monday afternoon, where transgender Texans and parents of transgender children spoke about their efforts to stop the passage of anti-trans legislation.

“We hope that Texans realize what’s really happening, which is essentially adults in power bullying trans kids,” said Emmett Schelling, the executive director of the Transgender Education Network of Texas.

“What they are doing is just unconscionable. These bills are just bad lawmaking,” said Lisa Stanton, a Houston resident and the mother of a transgender girl. “Instead of focusing on issues that focus on and affect all Texans, these legislators are trying to pass bills that harm children, rather than help them.”

While the legislation has seen some traction in the upper chamber, it’s unclear whether there will be support in the House, where similar bills have yet to get assigned a committee hearing.

In the past, Speaker Dade Phelan, R-Beaumont, has pushed back against bills that would weaken protections for LGBTQ people. After the Senate passed a bill in 2019 that removed nondiscrimination protections based on sexual orientation, the House State Affairs Committee, which Phelan chaired, had the language reinstated.

Phelan said in an interview at the time that he was “done talking about bashing on the gay community.”

“It’s completely unacceptable,” he said. “This is 2019.”

In an interview with the Tribune in January, Sen. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock, who filed the priority bill and others on the issue, argued the changes were necessary to preserve Title IX.

He said transgender girls in particular — whom he referred to in an interview as “individuals who are quote confused” — could have an unfair advantage in strength and ability.

“This is purely 100% devoted to the preservation of Title IX and allowing women to compete against women in their peer groups in that biological category, so they know they can have an equal and fighting chance based on ability and not over some political narrative of the day that undermines fairness,” he said.

Perry could not immediately be reached for comment about the NCAA action.

On Monday, Perry said during the State Affairs Committee hearing that the bills were trying to protect children who don’t possess the maturity to understand the impact of these decisions.

“God created us all in his own image. …We went outside that creation by our own accord and suffer with some of the consequences of being outside his will since the garden,” Perry said, referring to the Biblical story of Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden. “This is another one of those issues that we find ourselves entangled in that unfortunately, the damage is to our most precious, precious being our children, not our personal lineage, but all of God’s children and the children in this state.”

But during testimony, at least one transgender Texan child pushed back on Perry’s arguments.

“God made me. God loves me for who I am, and God does not make mistakes,” Kai Shappley, a 10-year-old transgender girl, told the committee. Shappley and her mother, Kimberly, have fought anti-trans bills proposed by the legislature for several years now. The family moved from Pearland to Austin because of discriminatory laws that would not allow Kai to use the women’s restroom.

“I do not like spending my free time asking adults to make good choices,” Shappley said.

Duncan Agnew and Megan Munce contributed to this report.

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Trans and Black Lives Matters Activists protest Arkansas’ Jim Crow Laws

Black Lives Matter and Trans rights activists joined forces in North West Arkansas’ Benton Square Saturday to protest the onslaught of Republican-led legislation bent on denying black and transgender people their constitutional rights.

Together these bills segregate trans students from the student body denying them from participating in school activities, allow doctors to refuse to treat people based on religious or moral objections, stop doctors from treating transgender people with globally accepted best practices, and punish doctors who follow their Hippocratic oath.

Governor Hutchinson has the option to veto, sign or let HB 1570 become law by taking no action. Governor Hutchinson has until the end of business Today Saturday, March 5, to decide on what to do.

On Saturday, Pediatricians rallied Saturday in Little Rock asking Ark Gov. Veto HB 1570 noting that they represent every medical profession that would be negatively affected.

As of March 24, legislators have introduced 361 bills with restrictive provisions in 47 states. These bills like Georiga’s that prohibits giving food and water to people waiting to cast their ballets targets black people’s ability to participate in electing their representatives.

The bills have been crafted carefully so white supremacists can deflect criticism easily. But together they are an assault on America’s minorities’ rights with an intensity that hasn’t been seen since the civil war.

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President Biden addresses the National Center For Transgender Equality Awards Ceremony

President Joe Biden stopped by the NCTE Trans Equality Now Awards with a special message in honor of Transgender Day of Visibility.

A few days later on April fifth, the Hill reports, The Department of Justice (DOJ) told federal agencies that gay and transgender students are protected from discrimination under civil rights laws, reversing Trump administration guidance that limited the impact of a landmark Supreme Court decision last year extending employment discrimination protections to LGBT workers.

In a memo dated March 26 to federal agencies, Pamela Karlan, the head of the DOJ’s civil rights division, said that based on the Supreme Court’s decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, the 1972 education civil rights law known as Title IX should be read as covering gay and transgender students.

“After considering the text of Title IX, Supreme Court caselaw, and developing jurisprudence in this area, the Division has determined that the best reading of Title IX’s prohibition on discrimination ‘on the basis of sex’ is that it includes discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation,” Karlan wrote in the memo.

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