Last week, the North Carolina legislature filed six bills targeting the rights of trans youth in both healthcare and sports.
Senate Bill 631, and its companion bill House Bill 574, would ban transgender students from participating on a team corresponding with their gender. In addition, Senate Bill 636 would ban trans and intersex girls from sports.
It’s worth noting that being intersex is not a matter of how a person identifies, but it is instead a medical definition that refers to “a variety of situations” in which a person with reproductive or sexual anatomy doesn’t exactly fall into the category of “male” or “female.” For example, a person could be born with female genitalia on the outside of the body, but have male anatomy on the inside.
In terms of gender-affirming care, North Carolina legislators also filed Senate Bill 560 and Senate Bill 639. The former would restrict gender-affirming care for minors by introducing new requirements for youth, families, and healthcare providers. These requirements include telehealth visits for gender-affirming counseling and treatment, as well as mandates for new consent and waiting periods. Providers of gender-affirming care would also be barred from receiving public funds.
The latter would make it unlawful for healthcare professionals, including those that provide mental health care, to provide gender-affirming care. In addition to these pieces of legislation, Senate Bill 641, would give medical providers the right to discriminate in providing health care.
The executive director of Equality North Carolina, a nonprofit organization that focuses on protecting the rights of LGBTQ citizens, said that her organization is “outraged” by these pieces of legislation.
“Banning kids from playing sports because of who they are prevents them from having positive and formative experiences at school,” Kendra Johnson said. “And preventing parents from making decisions on their child’s health care is harmful and life-threatening. These bills do nothing to address the real issues facing our youth, like gun violence in schools or the mental health crisis. Instead of working to make schools safe environments, our lawmakers are bullying queer and trans kids.”
The group has also started a petition so that people opposed to the legislation can speak out, and let their legislators know how they’re feeling.
Shortly after these bills were filed, President Joe Biden issued a proposal that would outright forbid bans on transgender athletes. It would establish that “blanket bans,” such as those mentioned above, would violate Title IX, the landmark legislation enacted in 1972 that makes it illegal for any government-funded educational institution to discriminate against a person based on their sex.
The proposal still “faces a lengthy approval process,” as the Associated Press notes, and transgender advocates have criticized the move, as the proposal would still leave room for schools to develop policies that prohibit transgender athletes from playing on more competitive teams, especially if they’re designed to ensure that things are fair, or to prevent injuries.
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