Anti-Trans Legislation: Human Rights are Being Eradicated

June 1, 2023

image of trans flags, American flag, and equality flag

We Won’t be Erased – Rally for Trans Rights in Washington, DC, Ted Eytan via Wikimedia Commons

By Isaac Byrd ’24

Transgender people all over the United States are under attack in predominantly conservative legislatures. More than 700 anti-LGBTQ bills have been introduced in dozens of state legislatures all over the United States this year. While many may not become law, they escalate ongoing political debate and encourage sharper opposition to the implementation of protective medical care and the legal rights of transgender people. The rights of transgender youth are particularly at risk.

Why should we be concerned?

By denying transgender individuals their basic human dignity, inciting hate, and promoting legal discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals, supporters of anti-trans legislation are  promoting human rights violations.

High profile political figures are promoting discriminatory, rights violating ideas through the media. Micheal J. Knowles, a host of the Daily Wire and speaker at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), made the claim that “transgenderism must be eradicated from public life entirely, the whole preposterous ideology, at every level.” U.S. Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene  seeks to ban gender affirming care for transgender youths nationwide. These are dangerous calls to action and could lead to the implementation of even more oppressive policies.

Fortunately, 2/3rds of Americans oppose laws that would severely limit trans rights. The problem is that various interest groups and leaders in our legislatures are promoting policies and attempting to pass laws based solely on their own discriminatory and misinformed beliefs about transgender people. 

What is happening with anti-trans legislation in 2023?

From bathroom bills, healthcare bans, drag bans, schooling bills, sports bans and more, the daily lives and choices of transgender individuals are being impeded. Specifically, the variety of high profile anti-trans legislation under consideration threatens human rights including the right to expression, the right to healthcare, the right to privacy, freedom of information and equality before the law. These bills particularly threaten the rights of transgender youth and interfere with their access to healthcare and education. Elected officials are trying to stop trans and gender non-conforming people from making decisions about their own bodies and futures.

Examples of introduced or passed Anti-Trans Legislation.

This list is only a sample of the type of bills that are limiting the rights of transgender people. 

HB0009 in Tennessee – Drag performance – Passed

  • This drag ban poses major restrictions towards drag performers and transgender individuals who are exercising their freedom of expression. The arguments under this legislation associate drag performances with “male and female impersonators” as “adult cabaret” which automatically criminalizes and sexualizes the identity of transgender individuals as well as the status of drag performers. This bill has been signed and enacted as Tennessee state policy.

SB1029 in Texas – Healthcare – Introduced

  • The purpose of this proposed legislation is to prohibit state funded insurance plans such as Medicaid and other public funds from being used for the administration or provision of gender affirming care. The major claim here is that public clinics are being funded entirely from gender affirming procedures. This bill is looking to make it so that the only avenue a transgender patient could take in order to receive gender affirming treatment would be through private means, which is often significantly more expensive than through public or state funded healthcare plans. This legislation seeks to ensure that private health benefit plans are strictly liable for the lifetime care of the patient for consequences of gender affirming treatment or procedures covered by the plan, operating under the assumption that individuals are undergoing a transition for the sole purpose of detransitioning in the future. This limits the right to health and discriminates against those who rely on public healthcare.

H0071 in Idaho – Healthcare – Passed

  • The Vulnerable Child Protection Act criminalizes healthcare professionals providing gender affirming healthcare to transgender youth under the age of 18. Gender affirming healthcare is defined in the language of this bill as puberty blockers, hormone replacement therapy and gender affirming surgery. Most transgender individuals who discover their identity as a youth under the age of 18 find it ideal to at least request puberty blockers and sometimes hormone treatment in order to transition and actually be comfortable in their bodies. According to this bill, in a hypothetical situation, if a medical professional prescribes puberty blockers or a low dose of hormone treatment to a trans youth who is 16 years of age, this medical professional could be convicted of a felony and imprisoned in state prison for up to ten years. 

HB81 in Louisiana – Schools/Education – Introduced

  • This bill dictates that unless written permission is given by the parents of a trans student, school employees are required to refer to the student by their given name and corresponding pronouns as according to their birth certificate. Additionally, the language in this bill also suggests that school employees are not required to use the preferred names and pronouns of the trans youth if doing so is contrary to the school employee’s moral or religious convictions. Essentially, this bill makes it legal for teachers and other school employees to intentionally misgender trans students. It also has the potential to out transgender students who may find it dangerous to come out to their parents or guardians. This piece of legislation has been dubbed the Given Name Act. 

For more information about 2023 Anti-Trans Bills that have been introduced and enacted in other states, click here.

Possible Consequences

This wave of anti-trans legislation not only threatens the rights and safety of trans people, it is creating a context of uncertainty and fear. These proposed bills would prevent trans people from being able to enjoy their daily lives. The amount of misinformation coupled with anti-trans sentiment among government officials threatens to slow, and even reverse, progress that has been made regarding the promotion of trans rights. This will harm the mental health of transgender individuals as a collective. Data indicates that 82% of transgender people have considered suicide and 40% have attempted suicide with risks particularly high for trans youth. In the current political climate, these numbers are expected to increase. 

This is what you can do.

  1. Contact your policymakers and let them know that you support the rights of trans people and you oppose anti-trans legislation like HB0009 in Tennessee and the other bills highlighted above. Use the Anti-Trans Bills tracker to identify legislation in your own state that violates the human rights of trans people. Contact your elected officials and encourage them to oppose them. 
  2. Support organizations that actively support trans rights and trans people like the National Center for Transgender Equality.
  3. Support internationally led organizations that support trans rights and trans people.
  4. Register to vote and then vote for candidates that support trans rights! 


Isaac Byrd ’24 is a political science major and sociology minor at Albion College. At Albion College, Isaac is active in various campus organizations including Students for Reproductive Justice and Diversability. They are passionate about reproductive justice, the rights of LGBTQI+ individuals and labor rights.

The views expressed here represent those of the author and not necessarily of Albion College.