Transgender flag fades into shadows and silhouettes of people on a road

Protesters Show Up in Droves To Oppose Wisconsin’s Anti-Transgender Bills

Trans rights are human rights.

Republicans are quick to endorse the narrative that most people support prohibiting gender-affirming care for the youth. But despite their attempts to wage a culture war against the transgender community, most people aren’t ardently obsessed with oppressing trans folks. And, in fact, the transgender community has more support than conservatives would have us believe. This was illustrated recently when the Wisconsin State Assembly opened debate on three bills that are, effectively, anti-trans. The supporters of trans rights seem to be pretty organized in this state, and I think that is a great thing. One X user said: “The idea that anti-trans laws are popular is a mirage created by noisy bigots and credulous media. Real-world Americans don’t want to mess around in the lives of their friends and neighbors.” I agree! But while supporting human rights is essential, liberals can sometimes fumble their organization and messaging. So this was a good sign!

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Two of the bills being proposed would target transgender athletes and the third would ban gender-affirming care. According to independent reporter Erin Reed, so many people opposed these bills that one anti-trans advocate said their side had “taken a knee” because of the massive crowd rallying against this trio of legislation. Assembly Bill 377 seeks to ban transgender girls from participating in K-12 sports. Assembly Bill 378 would ban transgender athletes at the collegiate level. Assembly Bill 465 would prohibit gender-affirming care for trans youth. These pieces of legislation are in line with anti-trans bills that have swept the nation this year. But the opposition in Wisconsin seems to be greater than what we have seen in many states. 

Wisconsin has become a pivotal state in national elections and a battleground in the fight for democracy. The state can help provide a path to victory for candidates representing either Republicans or Democrats; races are usually close and can swing either way. Currently, Republicans have a supermajority in the state Senate but not in the State Assembly. Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers is a Democrat and has already said that he would veto these bills if they passed. All hail Democratic governors! As a person from North Carolina, I know how important they can be.

Erin reports that the hearings brought out a lot of LGBT advocates and allies, which we love to see! She said that organizers for the opposition (in relation to the proposed bills) provided 10,000 pages of testimony about why the bills should not be voted for. Rooms went into overflow and many witnesses chose to appear and speak. In a smart move, organizers put physical boxes out on shelves where people could write down their testimonies. With so many petitions being digital nowadays, I think having a visual display like this is helpful to show just how many people oppose these harmful policies. 

Republican legislator Amanda Nedweski attempted a gotcha moment with a pro-trans witness. She asked them “What is a woman” and, to her surprise, the witness literally scanned the bill and could not find a definition of a woman! How could this be!? A legislator expects the public to provide definitions for words that seem crucial to the matter, but they themselves cannot provide those definitions! The bill just says that sex is what is assigned at birth on a birth certificate. But that’s tricky because people can change their birth certificates. The fact that they didn’t include a definition shows just how sloppy and uninformed their argument is.

The bill banning gender-affirming care saw the most testimony, with many medical professionals attending the hearing or sending in statements against the bills. Those who spoke against the ban included representatives from most of Wisconsin’s major hospitals, the American Pediatric Association, the American Medical Association, and more. I think it is really important to mention the American Pediatric Association in particular because a lot of bigots pretend to care about children. But doctors and health professionals are the experts in this realm. But many advocates and politicians pushing this agenda just refuse to accept the science. I mean, I don’t get it. Some witnesses spoke about their own transgender children and what they have gone through.

To put it simply, Wisconsin is showing us how it’s done and we should take note!

(featured image: AlxeyPnferov/Getty Images)

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