Politics Weekly 4 – As Republican legislators attack LGBTQ rights, we must fight back


Courtesy of hrc.org

In early March, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves signed legislation that banned transgender athletes from participating in sports.

Editor’s Note: This column has recently not been published weekly as its name would suggest, and we’re going to get that back on track. From now on, you can count on the regular publishing of this column every other Wednesday with the new title of Politics Biweekly. Thanks for reading!

Across the nation, a battle is occurring that should not be. Lawmakers are fighting a political war over the basic human rights of LGBTQ Americans, and it needs to stop.

Specifically, recent legislation in several states has targeted the rights of transgender people. In Mississippi, Republican Governor Tate Reeves signed a law in early March that banned transgender athletes from school sports. Despite resounding calls nationwide to #LetKidsPlay, Reeves chose to do the opposite. Around the same time, the Alabama Senate passed a bill that would make it a felony to give kids gender-affirming medical care. This week, the Governor of Arkansas went against this violent trend and vetoed a similar bill, but his veto was then overridden. The override pushed forward a law that will cause immeasurable harm to transgender youth.

All of these recent governmental actions feed into a dangerous trend of anti-LGBTQ legislation nationwide. From using religion to justify discrimination to attacking healthcare for LGBTQ people, Republican leaders across the country are working to harm the rights of millions. At the national level, progress through legislation like the Equality Act is being stymied by Republican obstruction and Democratic resistance to taking steps like abolishing the filibuster if needed to make such progress.

A few victories are being won, too. The Arkansas Governor, Asa Hutchinson’s, veto was a hard-fought victory won by transgender youth and advocates everywhere who pushed him to take that action. In Virginia, Delegate Danica Roem just got her bill passed and signed into law in order to abolish a legal defense that allowed murderers to receive lighter sentences by claiming they “panicked” after finding out their victim’s gender or sexual orientation. Roem is one of the first openly transgender legislators elected in the nation. While we can find hope in these few positive progressions, many more are needed.

As we look at all of the actions being taken, good and bad, a few things are clear. Many Republican legislators are taking aim at basic rights for their constituents, and we need to fight to stop them. We need to support and elect more LGBTQ candidates to represent our communities. These issues are intersectional, and we need to especially support women, people of color, and of course LGBTQ organizers as we work on these issues. Be vocal. Call your legislators, spread the word about these issues, and don’t let legislators’ aggressions go unchallenged. Progress and equality are possible; we have to keep fighting to make them happen.