Today is the International Transgender Day of Visibility so it's only fitting that the governor of Idaho, Brad Little, signed two anti-transgender bills into law last night.
The first bill signed into law by Little is just plain cruel. The new law bans all transgender women and girls from joining sports teams for women and girls.
But how will they determine who gets to count as a girl at a young age where their birth gender may even not be obviously visible? By inspecting their genitals.
House Bill 500, also known as the Fairness in Women's Sports Act, says "athletic teams or sports designated for females, women, or girls shall not be open to students of the male sex." The measure says that a "dispute" about an athlete's gender can only be resolved by examining "the student's reproductive anatomy, genetic makeup, or normal endogenously 19 produced testosterone levels."
Notice that this law is the "Fairness in Women's Sports Act," not the Fairness in Sports Act. This law does not cover transgender boys and men who also exist and that exposes the raw, discriminatory nature of it. This bill is an attack on transgender women and girls and also cisgender women and girls whose bodies may not conform to societal norms or beauty standards.
The discriminatory nature of the bill, targeting only females or those identify as female, is almost certainly a legal weakness that will expose the law to arguments that it violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act because it specifically targets women.
The second bill signed into law by Governor Little is more or less a declaration that transgender people may not legally exist in the state.
Little also signed into law Monday House Bill 509, which prohibits transgender people from obtaining a new birth certificate with their gender identity on it.
In 2018, a federal court struck down a similar bill that sought to prevent gender from being changed on birth certificates.
To legally change your gender to do things like alter the name or gender on your life insurance, or obtain a loan under your new name, or obtain an appropriate driver's license requires changing the gender on your birth certificate. This law says residents of the state can't do that and that likely violates current federal law.
It's likely that both of these laws will be struck down, but this is what Republican lawmakers have chosen to spend time on during a pandemic that has not spared the state. Idaho currently has over 400 identified cases of COVID-19.
Of course, this is a return to form for Republican state lawmakers who spent the majority of the late Obama era and early Trump era fighting transgender boogeymen who are just trying to live their lives and mind their own business.