Now Reading
Idaho governor passes two anti-trans laws just hours before Trans Day of Visibility

Idaho governor passes two anti-trans laws just hours before Trans Day of Visibility

  • ‘Cruel and discriminatory’ laws target trans kids.
Brad Little

Idaho Governor Brad Little has given transgender people a kick in the teeth, passing two anti-trans laws just hours before International Transgender Day of Visibility.

The bills have been sitting on his desk for more than a week. And some hoped he would veto them. But instead, Little chose to sign the laws that particularly target transgender youth.

The two new laws in the US state are:

House Bill 509: It prohibits transgender people from changing the gender listed on their birth certificate.

House Bill 500: It bans transgender student athletes from participating in sports. This is counter to current policies set by the Idaho High School Activities Association. Moreover it means Idaho becomes the first state in the country to pass legislation targeting transgender student athletes.

Faulty science behind sports bill

Legislators have proposed similar bills in other states. But Idaho is the first place to put them into law.

The sports bill means trans female athletes will have to go to the doctor for a genital exam or DNA test to prove to the state they are a woman.

Moreover, some opponents warn it could mean people carrying out invasive genital examinations even on cisgender girls to prove they are not trans.

Meanwhile opponents say it’s not only bad for young people but based on bad science.

The bill argues that men inherently have ‘denser, stronger bones, tendons, and ligaments’ and ‘larger hearts, greater lung volume per body mass’ and so on.

However, many of the advantages male athletes have are based on their hormones. Trans athletes taking female hormones will lose the edge testosterone gives men.

Moreover, the issue hasn’t come up in Idaho in practice. Currently no openly trans or intersex athletes are competing in the state.

While others fight coronavirus, Idaho’s politicians spread hate

Social media users had already slammed Idaho for prioritizing hate by passing the bills just as other states had been gearing up to fight coronavirus.

Some campaigners had hoped that Little would actually veto the bills rather than signing them into law. A big social media campaign asked him to veto.

Meanwhile, when asked about the bills, Little had said: ‘I’m not a big discrimination guy.’

But he did decide to go ahead on 30 March, just hours before the start of International Transgender Day of Visibility today (31 March).

Alex Schmider is US LGBT+ organization GLAAD’s associate director of transgender representation. He said:

‘On the eve of Transgender Day of Visibility and while the United States is overwhelmed with a massive public health crisis, Idaho Governor Brad Little passed legislation targeting some of the most vulnerable members of the LGBTQ community – transgender children.

‘Although medical experts, sport governing bodies, and Idaho’s major employers have spoken out against these two bills, Governor Little has instead sided with discrimination.

‘Now, more than ever, transgender people need to be supported, not subjected to state-sponsored discrimination and suffering.’