Kansas’s GOP is advancing one of the country’s most shocking anti-transgender bills to date.
As Newsweek reported, the state legislature has passed HB 2238, which bans trans athletes from participating on school and college sports teams that align with their gender identity. When asked in a previous legislative session how the bill would be enforced, one of its proponents suggested a mandatory “sports physical,” which would include an inspection of an athlete’s genitals to prove their gender.
Yes, you read that correctly: Anti-trans lawmakers want to subject school-age children to invasive genital exams. It’s even more ludicrous considering there are only three openly trans athletes playing on school sports teams in the entire state.
HB 2238 was previously vetoed by Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly, a Democrat, earlier this month. However, the legislature was able to override Kelly’s rejection with a vote. The legislation will now take effect on July 1.
In a statement to Newsweek, Kansas House Majority Leader Chris Croft said HB 2238 “protects the rights of female athletes in the state” because trans girls have an unfair advantage over their cisgender peers. But a 2017 report from the journal Sports Medicine found “no direct or consistent research” to support this claim, CNN reported.
In reality, this legislation further alienates transgender and nonbinary youth, who are already disproportionately impacted by bullying and mental health issues.
The real issue here isn’t trans kids’ participation in sports; it’s the GOP’s baseless legislative war on America’s 300,000 trans youth. Their rights have become a wedge issue among conservative lawmakers, who seek to bar trans youth from accessing gender affirming healthcare, bathrooms and locker rooms, and yes, school sports.
According to a recent report from The Trevor Project, 86 percent of trans and nonbinary youth said debates over their rights negatively impact their mental health.
This year, the ACLU is tracking a staggering 450-plus anti-LGBTQ+ bills in state legislatures nationwide, the bulk of which specifically target the trans community. The LGBTQ+ think-tank Movement Advancement Project has counted upwards of 650. And it’s only April 6.
Gender affirming healthcare is recommended by virtually every major medical association in the U.S., including the American Medical Association, American Psychiatric Association, and American Academy of Pediatrics. However, 14 U.S. states have barred it for trans people under the age of 18.
Just this week, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb signed one such ban into law. The ACLU of Indiana said it intends to challenge the law, which also goes into effect on July 1.
With gender affirming healthcare in jeopardy, many parents of trans kids are wondering how they can obtain this potentially life-saving care for their children.
Before you go, check out these affordable mental health apps we love:
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