Two Republican Governors Stand Up Against the Wave of Anti-Transgender Bigotry

The LGBT community is being driven back to the 1970s, or beyond, with anti-transgender bigotry being exploited as justification. Republican-led state legislatures have introduced almost 240 anti-LGBT bills in just the first three months of this year — the most ever in history. Half these bills specifically attack transgender people, particularly transgender youth, their parents, teachers, doctors and professionals that try to assist them. Under a new law in Texas, assisting a transgender young person, son or daughter is potential child abuse.

The front line today in fighting for LGBT rights must be defense of transgender people. That’s where they want to hit us and that’s where we and our allies need to stand firm.

Anti-transgender prejudice is taking root across the political spectrum from socialists, to some Democrats, to mainstream Republicans, to far-right Republicans, and beyond to QAnon. With so many aligned against the transgender community, albeit with varying rationales and nuances, the front line today in fighting for LGBT rights must be defense of transgender people. That’s where they want to hit us and that’s where we and our allies need to stand firm.

I was pleased to read in USA Today that two Republican governors had the decency and the courage to veto anti-transgender bills passed by their legislatures. They are Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb and Utah Gov. Spencer Cox.

Indiana Veto

Indiana Governor Holcomb released a statement saying the bill failed “to provide clarity and one consistent state policy regarding the fairness in K-12 sports in Indiana…”

He said the bill is a solution in search of a problem. He said, “[T]he presumption of the policy laid out in HEA 1041 is that there is an existing problem in K-12 sports in Indiana that requires further state government intervention. It implies that the goals of consistency and fairness in competitive female sports are not currently being met. After thorough review, I find no evidence to support either claim even if I support the overall goal.”

He went on to say there’s “not a single case of a male seeking to participate on a female team has completed the process established by [Indiana High School Athletic Association’s] now decade-old policy.”

Utah Veto

Utah Governor Cox also released a statement explaining his decision. He noted that the “transgender sports participation issue is one of the most divisive of our time.” He said “finding compromise or common ground can be difficult” yet called for a reasoned discussion. He cited figures to help put the controversy into some perspective:

    • 75,000 high school kids participating in high school sports in Utah.
    • 4 transgender kids playing high school sports in Utah.
    • 1 transgender student playing girls sports.
    • 86% of trans youth reporting suicidality.
    • 56% of trans youth having attempted suicide.

Cox’s statement was particularly notable for a level of compassion I would not have expected. He wrote:

“Finally, there is one more important reason for this veto. I must admit, I am not an expert on transgenderism. I struggle to understand so much of it and the science is conflicting. When in doubt however, I always try to err on the side of kindness, mercy and compassion. I also try to get proximate and I am learning so much from our transgender community. They are great kids who face enormous struggles.”

There’s hope yet!

Title image credit: Rachael Warriner/Shutterstock. All comments are welcome. I only ask that we remain civil and respectful of one another. If you clicked over from Facebook, please comment here rather than back there.

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