The attacks on LGBTQ people — especially trans people — aren't stopping
A new anti-LGBTQ bill in Congress, federal court rulings that sidestep the Supreme Court's 2020 Bostock ruling, court fights over anti-transgender state laws, and attacks on private trans individuals.
The attacks on LGBTQ people — with a particular vehemence toward attacks on transgender kids and transgender women — are so constantly present that it is difficult to keep track of everything that’s happening.
It should, however, also be impossible to ignore.
In Congress, nearly three dozen Republicans — mostly a who’s who of exactly-who-you’d-think, from old-timers like Rep. Louie Gohmert to new members like Rep. Lauren Boebert — are taking aim at queer people by way of what is already being called “a federal ‘don’t say gay’ bill.”
The bill would ban any entity — public or private — from using federal funds to hold a program or produce literature that includes “sexually-oriented material” available to children under the age of 10.
While that, in and of itself, would be an incredible federal overreach, there are three elements of the bill that make its overreach a clear attempt at oppression.
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The bill defines “sexually-oriented material,” in part, as “any topic involving gender identity, gender dysphoria, transgenderism, sexual orientation, or related subjects” — meaning that literally anything queer, not just sexual materials as the opening language suggests, would be banned under the bill.
Second, the bill allows any parent who thinks they’ve found a violation of this ban to bring a private right of action — meaning any parent can bring a lawsuit to get an injunction.
Finally, if parents are able to get two injunctions from a federal judge — and think about who some of the district judges are out there — against an entity within a five-year period for claims that the ban was violated, the entity — again, public or private — can be barred from getting any federal funds for three years.
The legislation, H.R. 9197, won’t be considered in this Congress, but if Republicans retake the House in the midterm elections, the House Education and Labor Committee could hold hearings on the bill next year.
This bill isn’t all — not by a long shot. Here are just a few of the other stories of LGBTQ people facing new or ongoing private or government, including judicial, attacks that I’ve seen already this week:
In Arkansas, a two-week trial is underway over the state’s ban on gender-affirming care for transgender children. Chase Strangio, who you saw on the Jon Stewart panel in the episode of his show that discussed the law, is down in Arkansas, part of the ACLU team fighting the law.
At Balls and Strikes, James LaRock details how Trump-appointed judges in Tennessee and Texas have issued rulings attempting to constrain the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s efforts to enforce the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s 2020 decision in Bostock v. Clayton County. In that ruling, the court — in a 6-3 opinion by Justice Neil Gorsuch — held that the sex discrimination ban in Title VII of the law includes a ban on discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. But, a bunch of Trump judges (and other Republican appointees) don’t like that. So, they’re ignoring it or, at best, sidestepping it. As LaRock explains, it’s not even actual enforcement at issue here — it’s just EEOC guidance documents. But, here we are.
There are individual attacks as well. Parker Molloy highlighted this morning how conservative media and conservative lawmakers team up to make private individuals’ lives hell merely for existing as transgender people. Check out Parker’s thread for more on how an informational letter from a school about a pregnant teacher’s forthcoming leave quickly escalated to Sen. Ted Cruz attacking this transgender teacher — and the very real life-and-death dangers of this sort of targeting.
These attacks will continue, but so will the efforts — in court, in legislatures, at the ballot box, and in the public square — to stop them.
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This is absolute insanity.