In South and Midwest, Legislators Try to Distract Constituents by Attacking Transgender and Nonbinary Young People

With little to offer communities, lawmakers push agenda of hate and exclusion

February 23, 2021

Lydia Stuckey


Lesthan one month after the Biden-Harris Administration repealed the transgender military ban and issued an executive order declaring that all people, “no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation,” receive equal treatment under the law, at least 50 bills attacking transgender and nonbinary young people and communities have cropped up in statehouses throughout the country, with the majority concentrated in the South and Midwest. These bills represent a coordinated attempt to ban trans people from participating in sports, eliminate their health care access, attack their access to safe school environmentsand codify anti-trans discrimination. 

Statement from Kimberly Inez McGuire, Executive Director, URGE: 

As state legislatures fail to meet the needs of communities devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, climate disaster, and job loss, lawmakers in the South and Midwest are trying to distract their constituents with cruel attacks on transgender young people. It’s disgusting to see these legislators attacking marginalized children to distract from their own failures. 

Let’s be clear, these bills are based on lies, justified with harmful myths, and write into  law medically unsound beliefs about gender. These bills deny young people the ability to  consent to their own health care, while still allowing nonconsensual medical abuse on intersex  infants. When it comes to womens and girls’ sports, it’s telling that none of these bills  propose increased funding to women’s sports. Instead, they invoke transphobic myths to fear- monger the public and fellow lawmakers into supporting discrimination against young trans  women.” 

“These bills are nothing more than a radically transparent and cold-hearted effort on behalf of  far-right politicians and organizations to sow fear and hatred against one of the most oppressed  and vulnerable groups in the nation: trans, queer, and nonbinary young people.”  

Statement from Nigel Morton, URGE Kansas State Organizer: 

These bills, like the one in Kansas, require a genital inspection of girl athletes which should strike everyone as a grotesque violation of basic bodily autonomy and privacy. Not only that, but on a human level, sports are a way for young athletes to learn, in a deep sense, how to love their body and get to know their limitations and abilities. In team sports, this is often a young  person’s first exposure to working in collaboration with others to achieve a goal, and they learn  how to be gracious, win or lose.” 

As a young trans personsports were a lifeline — a way to cope with the oftentimes extreme emotions brought on by gender dysphoria. To exclude transgender athletes from  participating in school sports is to exclude them from self-love, collaboration, and a  potentially lifelong calling.”  

These bills include: 


HB 1/SB 10A bill that would make gender-affirming health care for young people under age 18 a felony and mandate that school staff disclose a young person’s transgender or questioning identity to a parent or a guardian, effectively “outing” young people by force and exposing them to potential injury and abuse. 


HB 68A bill that exploits harmful myths about transgender identity and would redefine providing gender-affirming health care to transgender young people under age 18 as a form of child abuse. 


KS SB 208: A bill requiring that girls’ and women’s school athletic teams discriminate against and exclude transgender girls and women from participating in competitive sports. 


HB 276A bill requiring that girls’ and women’s school athletic teams discriminate against and exclude transgender girls and women from participating in competitive sports. 


HB 513: A bill that would ban medical providers from providing gender-affirming care to transgender young people under age 18 while threatening healthcare providers with disciplinary action or the loss of their license if they do. 


About URGE: 

URGE envisions a liberated world where we can live with justice, love freely, express our gender and sexuality, and define and create families of our choosing. To achieve our vision of liberation, URGE builds power and sustains a young people’s movement for reproductive justice by centering the leadership of young people of color who are women, queer, trans, nonbinary, and people of low-income. As a state-driven national organization, URGE organizes our communities, provides a political home for young people, advocates for meaningful policy change, and shifts culture, working in states where the challenges and opportunities are greatest.