To my own surprise, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson vetoed the state's bill that would ban transgender health care for minors, but in the end it didn't matter because Republicans in the state legislature voted to override his veto and force it into law.
Republicans in North Carolina are now considering an even worse bill that is likely unconstitutional and fascist at face value if you ask me.
Like their Republican counterparts in Arkansas, the state party wants to ban transgender health care for minors, but they also want to ban it for some legal adults among other things.
Unlike other states, however, North Carolina would classify adults between the ages of 18 and 21 as minors under the “Youth Health Protection Act.”
Medical professionals who facilitate a transgender person’s desire to present themselves or appear in a way that is inconsistent with their biological sex could have their license revoked and face civil fines of up to $1,000 per occurrence. The measure bars doctors from providing gender confirming hormone treatment, puberty blockers or surgery.
State Republicans also want to impose a strict, state-controlled regime of gender conformity to ensure that no kid is even allowed to appear as if they may be transgender.
Senate Bill 514 would also compel state employees to immediately notify parents in writing if their child displays “gender nonconformity” or expresses a desire to be treated in a way that is incompatible with the gender they were assigned at birth. LGBTQ advocates fear the bill would out people under 21 who tell state workers that they may be transgender.
There's another provision buried in this bill that would prohibit participation in social assistance programs like food stamps if the recipient is transgender. It would accomplish this by saying no state money can be used to support transition procedures and thus the person transitioning. And as you may know, most transgender people are working poor so that could further impoverish most of the state's transgender population.
The cruelty is the point. Republicans say they want to 'protect kids' (from living full, happy lives) or whatever, but they aren't going to stop with kids. They aren't going to stop with kids because protecting them isn't the real goal. The goal is to erase transgender people altogether. Pushing transition further into someone's adult life furthers their goal because the older you get, the more difficult it is to change yourself. They want to discourage as many people as possible from living a full life as the person they really are.
I can calmly write about these legislative assaults, for the most part, but the truth is it makes me feel angry and militant. It doesn't make me sad because no bigoted lawmaker can take away the joy I've experienced through my own transition, but it makes me angry because I know they could deny that same joy to young people who have never known it. It's difficult the put this sentiment into words when what I really want to do is punch back.
Although the governor of North Carolina is a Democrat, Republicans control the state legislature and have the power to pass this.