110+ Organizations Issue Letter Opposing Anti-Transgender State Legislation

April 9, 2021 • 3:21 pm

Broad coalition asks lawmakers in dozens of states to reject bills seeking to ban transgender youth from school sports and from accessing medical care

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today more than 110 civil rights and legal groups, organizations for women and girls, medical associations, and proponents of equality for all Americans issued a joint letter opposing harmful anti-transgender bills at the state level.

Signers include expert organizations such as American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, American Association of University Women, Family Equality, Girls Inc., Girls on the Run International, GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ Equality, National Black Justice Coalition, New Ways Ministry, Pediatric Endocrine Society, Union for Reform Judaism, Women’s Sports Foundation, and more. The full letter and list of signers can be found here: https://freedomforallamericans.org/joint-statement-opposing-state-legislation-targeting-transgender-youth/

“Today’s letter illustrates the broad opposition from the full range of experts in children’s welfare to the dozens of bills in states that accomplish no meaningful outcome other than to diminish the lives of transgender youth and the people who care for them,” said Kasey Suffredini, CEO and National Campaign Director of Freedom for All Americans, the campaign to secure LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections nationwide. “Transgender youth are our friends, family members, and neighbors; and none of our nation’s children, including transgender youth, should be prohibited from receiving medically necessary health care or participating on school sports teams with their friends just because of who they are. These bills are unnecessary, opposed by our nation’s child welfare experts, unsupported by the broader public, and dangerous to some of our nation’s most vulnerable children. We urge state lawmakers to speak with transgender youth, their families, and child welfare experts in order to better understand what it means to be transgender; and reject this legislation.”

The letter reads in part:

It is unconscionable that in many states, lawmakers are proposing and passing a wave of dangerous bills that seek to ban transgender youth from participating on K-12 school sports teams and/or from being able to access best practice medical care. … Transgender kids want the opportunity to play sports for the same reason other kids do: to be a part of a team where they feel like they belong.

Additionally, proposals that seek to ban transgender youth under the age of 18 from receiving best-practice medical care are some of the most extreme attacks on transgender people in recent memory. These bills would criminalize best practice medical care that is backed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, and other leading health authorities.

State politicians should focus on what matters — containing the pandemic, increasing vaccinations, bolstering the economy, and helping families—rather than targeting transgender youth for harm.

The wide range of signers reflects the rising bipartisan consensus for nationwide LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections. Public support is at an all-time high and polls consistently show that a growing supermajority of Americans support protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination: Today’s signers join more than 65 major U.S. companies that issued a similar joint statement last month opposing the same dangerous types of state legislation.

A 2020 study shows that one in three LGBTQ Americans faced discrimination in the previous year, including three in five transgender Americans. Yet approximately 100 bills in more than 30 states have been introduced that would further harm transgender youth, and several states have already advanced or passed legislation. Laws banning transgender youth from playing school sports will go into effect in Mississippi, Tennessee, and Arkansas. A bill banning transgender youth from receiving medical care will go into effect in Arkansas despite a veto by that state’s Republican governor, who opposed the bill citing his conversations with hundreds of people, including healthcare providers and transgender people.

According to a recent report from the Center for American Progress, 15 states and Washington, D.C.—together home to more than 6.8 million high school students and approximately 42 percent of transgender high school-age youth—already have policies allowing transgender students to participate in school sports without requirements of medical or legal transition. There has been no evidence of transgender or non-transgender youth seeking to abuse these policies. In states with inclusive policies, high school girls’ participation in sports remained unchanged from 2011 to 2019. In states with exclusive policies, girls’ participation has decreased. Transgender and nonbinary athletes had higher grades than those who did not participate in sports, and LGBTQ athletes reported 20 percent lower rates of depressive symptoms.

For more information on the status of current anti-transgender bills on the state level, visit https://www.freedomforallamericans.org/legislative-tracker.

Freedom for All Americans is the bipartisan campaign to secure full nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people nationwide. Our work brings together Republicans and Democrats, businesses large and small, people of faith, and allies from all walks of life to make the case for comprehensive nondiscrimination protections that ensure everyone is treated fairly and equally.

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