We are halfway through the July Special Session, and preparing for all possibilities to come. As a reminder, last week two anti-transgender sports bans — SB 2 (Perry) and SB 32 (Perry) — passed through the Senate at a record pace. With the House lacking quorum, these dangerous bills remain stagnant for the time being.
Meanwhile, in a radio interview, Governor Greg Abbott has suggested he’s made new efforts towards banning gender-affirming-related health care for transgender youth. Though the Governor did not elaborate much, he’s said that rather than pushing an anti-transgender health care bill during the July Special Session, he has “another way of achieving the exact same thing.”
While we anticipate the upcoming threats to our community, we are encouraged by the good news and progress materializing across the nation.
In 2021, seven states — Mississippi, Montana, Florida, West Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas and Alabama — signed transgender sports bans, barring transgender students from playing on the sports teams that align with their gender identity. On Wednesday, a West Virginia federal judge ruled to temporarily block the state’s sports ban, claiming in his order that the law did not “address any problem at all, let alone an important problem.” The lawsuit was filed on behalf of 11-year-old Becky Pepper-Jackson, a soon-to-be middle schooler who will run for the school’s girls cross-country team in the fall.
Similarly, in Louisiana, state lawmakers failed to override Governor John Bel Edwards’ former veto of a transgender sports ban. Two-thirds of both the House and Senate are required in order to override a veto, and with only sixty-eight votes in favor, the GOP-held House failed. In response, on Wednesday over one-hundred Louisianan Protestant, Jewish, and Catholic clergy signed an open letter signaling their opposition to the transgender sports ban, and confirming what we already know: “these children of God deserve our support and love and affirmation as they grow into adults, not our ridicule and scorn.”
The final victory took place in Arkansas, where a federal judge temporarily blocked state law that banned physicians from providing transition-related health care to transgender youth. The ACLU filed the case on behalf of four transgender inclusive families and two physicians who provide gender-affirming healthcare.
With 2021 serving as the worst year for LGBTQ+ state legislative attacks across the country, these national victories are a testament to the tenacity of transgender people, their families, and their allies. We must remain vigilant and ready to mobilize in a moment’s notice. Together, we can put a stop to this relentless and unprecedented attack on our Texas community.
There is still time to join our Rapid Tesponse Team. If you are in Waco, San Antonio, Houston, Corpus Christi, Amarillo, Dallas, or the Valley, please sign up as we may have opportunities to bus individuals to the Capitol during future special sessions.