Just when we started to think some progress was being made for the transgender community, a new report from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation reveals that there are currently 44 proposed anti-transgender bills across 16 states, reports Samantha Allen of the Daily Beast. The 16 states that are considering these anti-transgender bills are Washington, Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Massachusetts, Virginia, and South Carolina.
Of these 44 bills, 29 of them are “bathroom bills,” bills, intended to keep trans men and women from using the proper bathroom. In 2015, only 17 bathroom bills were proposed. While that number is still too high, as the proper number is zero, the leap from 17 to 29 is significant and indicates that things are somehow moving backwards in this country.
The bathroom debate has been ongoing for quite a while, and it is clear that it is fear that drives it rather than actual facts, as is usually the case for Conservatives. Despite the terror that transgender people are going to harass cis-gender people in public bathrooms, there has not been one reported case of this actually happening. It appears that trans people, just like cis people, just want to do their business and get on with their day. Shocker!
The remaining bills are as ludicrous as the bathroom bills. For example, in Oklahoma, HB 2215 would make it mandatory for anyone applying for a marriage license to verify whether or not they have undergone sex reassignment surgery — also known as SRS. If the person has, in fact, undergone such surgery, their marriage license will reflect that, for no other reason that to potentially shame the person applying for the license and leave a permanent record on a court document.
Another noteworthy bill in Washington state would require DNA testing. Men would have to prove that they have “male deoxyribonucleic acid” in order to enter men’s restrooms, locker rooms, and saunas. The same applies for women; they would need to possess “female doxyribonucleic acid” to enter women’s facilities. This bill was put to rest before it got out of committee, thankfully, but it is still terrible that some people were actually confident that it could pass. Did they even think about who was going to conduct these DNA tests?
This bill is also indicative of the ignorance of the religious Right in America, who clearly don’t understand the complexities of sex and gender. As Allen pointed out in her article, sex assignment is a lot more complex than they think. She then gives the example of complete androgen insensitivity syndrome — CAIS — which occurs in women who are born with both a Y chromosome and a vagina, asking where a woman with that particular condition would fit in the Washington state bathroom law.
Clearly, the right-wing nut jobs in these states are too caught up in binary thinking, and they are too focused on fearing those who are different from them, to the extent that they don’t even care about who they are victimizing with their anti-transgender bills. As long as they get their “religious freedom,” everyone else is on their own.