US House passes first national anti-trans youth bill to the Senate
A US national bill targeting trans youth has passed through the House of Representatives and on to the Senate following a close vote.
The Republican-proposed legislation dubbed the ‘Parental Bill of Rights’ made it through the House with a close 213-208 vote.
If passed, it will require US schools to effectively out transgender youth to their parents by requiring parental consent before changing gender markers.
Additionally, schools would have to publish school curricula and reading materials which could then be scrutinised by parents or guardians.
Schools that do not abide by the requirements will have their federal funds cut, according to the bill.
It now heads to the Senate floor for deliberation, where it is unlikely to reach the next legislative stage due to Democratic influence.
The bill’s sponsor, Louisiana Republican Julia Letlow, said she believed the bill shouldn’t be “partisan or polarising”.
“Contrary to what you may hear from my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, it is not an attack on our hard-working teachers, who will always be the heroes in my eyes,” she said.
Trans activists have pointed out that it is an attack on the rights of transgender youth, however, with several people describing it as a “bill of hate”.
In response to a tweet by independent journalist and legislative tracker Erin Reed, a Twitter user wrote that, as a cisgender teacher, he would “never deadname or misgender a student on purpose”.
“They can fire me,” he wrote.
House minority leader, New York Democrat Hakeem Jeffries, said that he believed the bill has nothing “to do with parental involvement”.
“Parental empowerment has everything to do with jamming the extreme MAGA Republican ideology down the throats of the children,” he said.
“What we’re seeing here today is the Republicans’ attempt to take some of the most heinous legislation that we are seeing passed on a state level to attack trans and LGBT – as well as people from marginalised communities – right to exist in schools.”
It is estimated that almost 400 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been proposed across states in the US since the beginning of 2023 alone.
The country’s first national anti-trans bill was proposed in early March as part of steps towards an anti-trans sports ban.
Republican lawmakers reintroduced federal legislation that would see trans women and girls barred from taking part in competitive sports that align with their gender after a committee meeting on 8 March.
If passed, it would amend federal civil rights laws and define sex as “based solely on a person’s reproductive biology and genetics at birth”.
Bills of this kind have emerged across state governments over the course of 2023 and 2022, with several still being debated.
In response to the bill’s reintroduction, 16-year-old trans girl Rebekah Bruesehoff told The Hill that, if passed, the law would “alienate” trans youth from their right to play sports.
“Sports are one of the most American experiences in any childhood, a federal sports ban would alienate me from my community, and prevent me from continuing to become a better version of myself,” she said.
“I’ve been raised and taught by my parents, coaches and teachers to be the kind of person who works actively to include people, make sure no one eats alone in the lunchroom and who stands up to bullies.”
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