In US, wave of anti-transgender legislation casts a shadow over Pride Month festivities-Living News, Firstpost


Amid the disappointment, the pride festivities continue, but many have been the subject of downsizing, postponements and, in some cases, controversy.

It’s Pride Month and American gays should have a lot to celebrate: a new president who has pledged to stand up for LGBTQ people, an easing of a pandemic that has disrupted their community activism, and growing acceptance by the public of their basic rights, including registration- high support for same-sex marriage.

Instead, the vibe is somewhat grim. Congress has so far failed to extend federal civil rights protections to LGBTQ people. Concerns about the pandemic still disrupt the usual exuberant pride festivals. And a wave of anti-transgender legislation in Republican-ruled states has been disheartening.

“The same week that I see all the ‘Happy Pride’ ads, I received several calls from friends about transgender children having to navigate mental hospitals because they were suicidal and self-harming,” said Dru. Levasseur, a transgender lawyer who is Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for the National LGBT Bar Association.

“I do crisis management,” he added. “These untold stories about the lives of transgender children contrast with ‘Happy Pride, everyone’.”

On June 1, at the start of Pride Month, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill making his state the eighth this year to ban transgender girls from participating in women‘s sports in public schools. Arkansas, one of those eight states, has also passed a law banning gender-confirming medical treatments, such as hormones and puberty blockers, which dramatically reduce the risk of suicide in trans youth.

“Our opponents have been absolutely shameless in their attacks on transgender people,” said Kevin Jennings, CEO of LGBTQ rights group Lambda Legal.

“We know that trans youth are the most marginalized and vulnerable students in our schools – they are bullied, harassed, abused,” Jennings said. “We are watching state lawmakers rack up on bullying.”

The trans community already faces a disproportionate level of violence. At least 28 trans and gender non-conforming people have been killed so far this year in the United States – on track to surpass the previous year-long record of 44 such murders in 2020.

Activists’ concerns go beyond transgender issues. For many, the top political priority is passing the Equality Act, which would extend federal civil rights protection to LGBTQ people. He’s been approved by the Democrat-controlled US House and is backed by President Joe Biden, but likely needs at least 10 Republican votes to win in the heavily divided Senate – and so far has none. co-sponsor of the GOP.

Tyler Deaton, who advises a conservative group called the American Unity Fund that supports LGBTQ rights, believes enough Republican votes can be found if language is drafted to ensure that equality law does not infringe on religious freedom .

“Senators are having these conversations now,” he said, mentioning Republicans such as Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Rob Portman of Ohio who have supported some LGBTQ-friendly laws in the past. .

Amid the disappointment, the pride festivities continue, but many have been the subject of downsizing, postponements and, in some cases, controversy.

The Pride Parades in San Francisco and Los Angeles have been canceled for the second year in a row, due to uncertainty over COVID-19[female[feminine restrictions. Organizers are offering smaller in-person events this month.

Philadelphia has abandoned its full-scale parade; a festival is planned instead on September 4th. The Chicago parade has been rescheduled for October 3.

In New York City, most NYC Pride events will be held virtually, as they did last year, although some in-person activities are scheduled.

NYC Pride organizers came under fire last month after banning police and other law enforcement personnel from marching in uniform in the annual parade until at least 2025 and have asked the duty officers to stand one block away from the celebration. The Gay Officers Action League said it was discouraged by this decision.

Some recent developments have encouraged the LGBTQ community – the overturning of a Trump administration ban on transgender people from joining the military; the groundbreaking appointments of Pete Buttigieg, who is gay, as transportation secretary, and Dr. Rachel Levine, who is transgender, as assistant health secretary.

And this week, Gallup reported that 70 percent of Americans now support same-sex marriage, the highest number since Gallup began polling the subject in 1996, when support was 27 percent.

But for many activists, these developments are being offset by setbacks in transgender rights.

Amy Allen, mother of a 14-year-old transgender boy in suburban Nashville, said her family is appalled by the multiple anti-trans bills that have been approved in Tennessee – including one exposing public schools to lawsuits if they let trans students use multiple – bathrooms or locker rooms for people who do not reflect their gender at birth.

“We’ve done a really good job with our family, really supporting him,” Allen said of his son, Adam. “Then having this new layer of legislation – having to think about how that might directly affect your day-to-day life only adds more anxiety. “

It’s quite worrying, Allen said, that she and her husband – who have roots in the Northeast – are considering moving there if Adam’s situation worsens.

Activists expressed dismay at the lack of corporate response to new anti-transgender laws.

A particular disappointment for activists is the NCAA, which – despite calls for punitive action – has located some of this year’s regional softball and baseball tournaments in states that have banned transgender girls from participating in sport.

This is in stark contrast to the NCAA’s stance five years ago, when it refused to host championships in North Carolina for several months after its legislature passed a bill restricting toilet use by transgender people in public facilities.

“The NCAA should be ashamed of itself for violating its own policy by choosing to host championships in states that are not healthy, safe or free of discrimination for their athletes,” said Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign .

Among transgender Americans who have mixed feelings about Pride Month is Randi Robertson, who achieved the rank of lieutenant colonel for 22 years in the Air Force and now combines his job as an airline pilot instructor. with the defense of transgender rights.

She is relieved that the Biden administration, unlike its predecessor, is committed to supporting the expansion of LGBTQ rights, but she says activists should be combative rather than complacent.

“The fundamentalist and evangelical right has expressly chosen to attack the smallest and most vulnerable part of the LBGT community (transgender people),” she said. “The bigger story is that we actually win. Now is not the time to give up, now is the time to double down and keep the pressure on. “

Imani Rupert-Gordon, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, also expressed a nuanced view of Pride Month.

“Pride is a time when we can celebrate who we are,” she said. “It’s also a time when we recognize that we still have a long way to go.”

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