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Utah Governor vetoes anti-Trans bill, legislative leaders plan override vote

“If you have not spent time with transgender youth, then I would encourage you to pause on this issue,” Cox said

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Utah Gov. Spencer J. Cox (Photo Credit: Office of the Governor)

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah’s Republican Governor Spencer Cox vetoed  House Bill 11 — anti-transgender legislation that would ban Trans youth from playing on sports teams that correspond with their gender identity.

The legislation prohibits “a student of the male sex from competing against another school on a team designated for female students” and defines “sex” as “biological, physical condition of being male or female, determined by an individual’s genetics and anatomy at birth.”

The bill sponsored by Republican Rep. Kera Birkeland specifies that a Trans athlete would upload their birth certificate and select the sport they want to play. “If the gender on their birth certificate does not match the sport they want to play, a commission with a doctor, sports physiologist, university level athletic trainer, coach and other experts would decide whether they can play on that team.”

The Salt Lake Tribune reported; In a letter addressed to Senate President Stuart Adams and House Speaker Brad Wilson, Cox defended his decision to veto the proposed legislation.

“I know both of you are committed to these same ideals and that we have worked very hard together to resolve the many issues surrounding transgender student participation in sports. Unfortunately, HB11 has several fundamental flaws and should be reconsidered,” Cox wrote.

Utah legislative leaders on Tuesday announced their plan to meet this Friday for an override session minutes after Cox vetoed the bill, The Salt Lake Tribune noted.

Cox was the second Republican Governor in twenty-four hours to veto anti-trans youth sports legislative measures.

Indiana Republican Governor Eric Holcomb vetoed HB 1041 Thursday, similar legislation that had he signed it into law would have banned transgender girls from competing on girls’ K-12 sports teams.

Cox had made headlines in March after his statement on House Bill 302, a bill that targeted the state’s Trans youth from participating in high school and collegiate sports.

“If you have not spent time with transgender youth, then I would encourage you to pause on this issue,” Cox said. “We have so many people who are in a very difficult spot right now. And we have very few if any transgender girls participating in sports.”

“These kids are, they are just trying to stay alive. You know, there is a reason none of them are playing sports,” says the Governor. “And so, I just think there is a better way, and I hope that there will be enough grace in our state to find a better solution.”

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Utah

Utah State Board of Education censures its anti-LGBTQ+ member

The Utah State Board of Education voted to strip Natalie Cline of virtually all of her powers and asked for her immediate resignation

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Utah State Board of Education headquarters in Salt Lake City. (Photo Credit: Utah State Board of Education)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – After a nearly two-hour closed-door session, the Utah State Board of Education voted this week to strip Natalie Cline of virtually all of her powers and asked for her immediate resignation.

Cline, an elected Republican member of the Utah State Board of Education, stirred up a firestorm of criticism from all corners including Utah Republican Governor Spencer Cox, and the state’s Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson, after she posted photos of a high school basketball player, questioning her gender and prompting threats against the girl.

KSL NBC 5 News Salt Lake reported the formal censure includes stripping her of committee assignments or getting new ones, her ability to place items on agendas and attending board advisory committee meetings.

“After reviewing all of the evidence, the crux of the issue is that a line here has been crossed,” board member Christina Boggess said.

“Free speech does not give anyone the right to target, intimidate or harm young students,” board member Emily Green said.

KSL noted that after leaving its closed-door session, the board presented the motion that members would vote on:

A) The Board requests that Board Member Cline resign effective immediately.
B) The Board takes the following actions
1) Issue the resolution of formal censure of Member Cline dated Feb. 14, 2024, as presented.
2) Remove Member Cline from all standing Board committees and any additional Board committee assignments.
3) Prohibit Member Cline from placing items on upcoming Board agendas.
4) Prohibit Member Cline from attending any Board advisory committee meetings.
C) These actions are consistent with USBE bylaws and become effective immediately and will be in effect through Dec. 31, 2024.

According to KSL NBC 5 five of the board members wanted to vote separately on section A, whether they should ask Cline to resign, and then vote additionally on the other sanctions B and C together. That proposal failed in a 5-9 vote.

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The board voted unanimously to the original motion and censured Cline, removed a majority of her powers on the board and ended the session.

Cline was absent from the meeting and did not vote on any of the motions.

Fox News 13 Salt Lake reported that the Utah State Legislature is exploring whether to impeach Natalie Cline from the state Board of Education, with House and Senate leaders saying they are appalled by her social media posts that have been called “bullying” for allegedly questioning the gender of a high school student-athlete.

Axios’ Salt Lake City Bureau is reporting the girl is now under police protection, the Salt Lake Tribune reports, as Granite School District ramps up security at her school.

Although Cline removed the post after she learned the girl was not transgender she posted a statement on her Facebook page arguing “it is normal to pause and wonder if people are what they say they are because of the push to normalize transgenderism in our society.”

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Utah state education official causes teen girl’s cyberbullying

“Natalie Cline posted a mocking statement on Facebook targeting a female high school student- inferred that the teenager might be transgender”

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Parents of female student athlete at the center of controversial school board member post speak out. (Screenshot/YouTube KSL NBC 5 SLC)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – A 16-year-old girl from Salt Lake County found herself under extreme cyberbullying attacks after a member of the Utah State Board of Education questioned her sexual identity on a social media post that went viral.

Natalie Cline, an elected Republican member of the Utah State Board of Education, is facing calls for her resignation from the state board after posting photos of a high school basketball player, questioning her gender and prompting threats against the girl. Cline’s Facebook page is filled with anti-LGBTQ+ posts and rhetoric including transphobic imagery.

According to a statement by Equality Utah on Wednesday:

“Natalie Cline posted a mocking statement on Facebook targeting a female high school student. Cline’s post inferred that the teenager might be transgender. The student in fact, is not. Cline’s post generated a stream of cruel and vicious comments from adults targeted toward this teenager.

Natalie Cline has a history of posting inflammatory opinions, however, this is a new level of depravity and bullying. Cline’s post perpetuates a modern day witch-hunt, where hysterical adults police the bodies of children to determine if they are masculine or feminine enough.

Two weeks ago, the Salt Lake Tribune reported a similar incident, where a parent stopped a high school girls basketball game and demanded to know if a particular player was transgender. She was not. These actions are callous and cruel. No child, be they straight, gay, or transgender, should be mocked and humiliated by elected officials. When will this end?

Now that new bathroom legislation has passed the Utah Legislature and been signed by Governor Cox, we are deeply concerned these gender witch-hunts will escalate, and harm not only transgender Utahns, but any Utahn who does not conform to Natalie Cline’s narrow view of gender. We are bracing to confront a wave of vigilantism in Utah bathrooms and locker rooms, and even more scrutiny of teenage athletes’ physical appearances in high schools.

America has a tragic history of moral panics leading to the humiliation and expulsion of minorities from public life. Hysteria often leads to violence. Witch hunts led to the death of innocent women in Salem, accusations of Communism destroyed lives during the McCarthy Era and the infamous “Extermination Order” of Latter-day Saints drove many of our Utah ancestors from their homes and livelihoods.

Moral panics only end when decent Americans stand up and say, “Enough!” Cline only apologized and deleted the post after facing public outrage. Utahns must demand greater accountability of her.

This is a pattern of irresponsible behavior from Cline, whose sanctimonious rhetoric conceals her true character — she is a mean, schoolyard bully. Cline is now harming the very children she has been elected to protect. If she does not show the decency to resign, we call on Utah voters to protect Utah’s children and deny her a second term this November.”

Utah Republican Governor Spencer Cox, and the state’s Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson, denounced Cline’s behavior on X (formerly Twitter):

Fox News 13 Salt Lake reported late Thursday that the Utah State Legislature is exploring whether to impeach Natalie Cline from the state Board of Education, with House and Senate leaders saying they are appalled by her social media posts that have been called “bullying” for allegedly questioning the gender of a high school student-athlete.

Axios’ Salt Lake City Bureau is reporting the girl is now under police protection, the Salt Lake Tribune reports, as Granite School District ramps up security at her school.

Although Cline removed the post Wednesday after she learned the girl was not transgender she posted a statement on her Facebook page arguing “it is normal to pause and wonder if people are what they say they are because of the push to normalize transgenderism in our society.”

KSL NBC 5 News Salt Lake reported that Al and Rachel van der Beek, the parents of a 16-year-old student-athlete are demanding that Cline resigns. The Utah State Board of Education in a statement Thursday morning said that the Board promised “prompt action.”

“Board Leadership is very concerned about this post and the harm it has caused to students and families in Utah,” the statement read adding: “If the full Board determines discipline is warranted, Board Bylaws provide guidelines for additional action.”

Cline’s full statement from her Facebook page defending her actions:

I previously shared a public advertisement for a school basketball game that was sent to me by multiple concerned parents, and it created a firestorm around one of the players pictured. Personal information as well as derogatory comments about the player were made by several commenters. To protect the player, I have removed the post. My deepest apologies for the negative attention my post drew to innocent students and their families.

My original post (now deleted) never claimed the student was a boy. For those who are still claiming the student is a boy, please know that several people I know and trust have reached out to me who personally know this girl and have vouched that she is in fact a biological girl and always has been since birth. She does have a larger build, like her parents. We live in strange times when it is normal to pause and wonder if people are what they say they are because of the push to normalize transgenderism in our society. But that is definitely not the case with this student, and I apologize again that the conversation around the post turned personal, that was never the intention, and again, I removed the post as soon as I realized what had transpired.

Recently, a father approached me about being trespassed by a school because he raised concerns about the gender of a player on the opposing team at his daugher’s game. This father was acting in good faith to protect his daughter, but he was treated like a criminal for even raising the question. This is not acceptable, either. The ground is shifting with so many exceptions being made to the rules that it’s hard to know what the rules are any more, which leads to misunderstanding and confusion on all sides of what used to be a black and white issue.

We are all trying to preserve women’s sports and their privacy spaces. In doing so, we most certainly recognize that there is great variety within females when it comes to physical characteristics, and of course, we are accepting of these differences and want all girls to feel welcome in school sports. Sadly, our good faith efforts to be accepting of differences has, at times, been taken advantage of causing a loss of trust, which leads to suspicion about girls who are more buff than most. This is a sad consequence of the trans movement being foisted upon us, which puts us all in a difficult spot. Nobody wants to question if a kid is the gender they say they are. We want to protect children, not hurt them. We want to trust while also protecting the truth.

In a world that sometimes uses children as human shields to push radical agendas, it has become increasingly difficult to trust and to know how to protect children without hurting children when children are the targets and victims in so much of the chaos and confusion swirling around us.

Again, my deepest apologies to the family and this young lady.

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Utah lawmakers send anti-trans bathroom ban to governor

The bill would bar transgender students from using restrooms and locker rooms that align with who they are

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Utah State Capitol Building, Salt Lake City. (Photo Credit: State of Utah)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – After considerable debate in a joint committee Friday after revisions by Senate and House lawmakers, the Utah House voted to pass Republican Rep. Kera Birkeland’s HB257, “Sex-based Designations for Privacy, Anti-bullying and Women’s Opportunities” bill and sent it to the state’s Republican Governor Spencer Cox for his signature.

The Salt Lake City Tribune reported LGBTQ+ advocacy organization Equality Utah said in a statement after the votes:

“These are issues we raised and asked legislators to amend. We are grateful for their responsiveness”

It continued, “We still hold the position that transgender Americans have the freedom and liberty to access facilities within public spaces. We are sorry for the fear and distress that many within the community are experiencing as they read these bills.”

If signed into law, Utah’s bathroom ban would become the first piece of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation that was filed, passed, and enacted all since January 1. The bill was fast-tracked through the legislature, careening from filing to final passage in just 11 days.

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Salt Lake City municipal leaders spoke out against the bill, with city and county officials issuing a statement decrying attacks on their transgender residents. In the statement, city leaders said that “The bill contradicts our commitment to being a safe and caring place for all and undermines our State’s ambition to welcome the world and all of its diversity. We love and support the transgender community throughout Utah and will do all we can to continue to make Salt Lake City a bastion of safety and inclusion.”

The bill would change the state’s legal definitions of “female” and “male” to categorize Utahns by the reproductive organs they were born with. It defines a “women’s bathroom” and “men’s bathroom” each as spaces only “designated for the exclusive use” of females and males, respectively, The Salt Lake City Tribune reported.

The bill would bar transgender students from using restrooms and locker rooms that align with who they are, and restrict access to changing rooms in government owned or operated facilities for transgender people of all ages.

The bill bars trans people from using “changing rooms” — locker rooms, showers and dressing rooms — that align with their gender identity in government-owned and controlled facilities. That prohibition would also extend to public schools. Some trans adults would be allowed to enter gender-specific spaces in limited circumstances: if they have had both bottom surgery — a costly and invasive procedure — and amended their birth certificate, which is a legal impossibility for people born in some states.

This is the third year in a row Utah has passed restrictions on the trans community, The Salt Lake City Tribune noted.

“This bill is an invasion of the privacy of Utahns. No student should be denied access to the bathroom that aligns with who they are. No one should fear harassment in the most private of settings. Period,” said HRC President Kelley Robinson. “Unfortunately, we are already seeing similar types of bathroom bans–bans that are reminiscent of the infamous HB2 in North Carolina–introduced across the country. These escalating national attacks on the humanity of transgender people, from assaults on medical freedom in Ohio to this assault on access to bathrooms and other facilities in Utah, are an affront to American values. The American people will not stand for this invasion into our basic freedoms; they will speak up at state legislatures across the country and, if they are ignored, at ballot boxes in November.”

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Draconian anti-trans bill advances to Utah Senate for final vote

On Monday, a bill advanced in Utah that would charge trans people with a crime if they use the bathroom of their gender identity

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On Monday, the Utah Senate Business and Labor Committee passed House Bill 257, a bill that would ban transgender individuals from using bathrooms corresponding to their gender identity. (Screenshot/YouTube Utah State Government)

By Erin Reed | SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – On Monday, the Utah Senate Business and Labor Committee passed House Bill 257, a bill that would ban transgender individuals from using bathrooms corresponding to their gender identity unless they had their birth certificate changed and had undergone gender reassignment surgery.

Such birth certificate updates are not allowed in a growing list of states. The bill would also end nearly all legal recognition for transgender people in Utah by defining “sex” in a way that excludes them from all state laws.

The bill faced fierce opposition, with 47 speaking against and 10 in favor. Despite the strong opposition, it passed the committee with a 5-3 vote, with one Republican joining the Democrats. It now advances to the full Senate floor for final passage.

Among those who testified at the hearing was Eva Chaves, the Salt Lake City Councilmember for District 4. She testified that the bill would have enormous implications for law enforcement.

Addressing the bill, she stated, “A transgender person accessing a facility could be charged with criminal trespass and voyeurism even if the person has an amended birth certificate if they have not undergone a major medical procedure. This puts our officers in an untenable position of verifying sex changes.”

Her position is supported by the plain language of the bill. House Bill 257 stipulates that transgender individuals will be charged with trespassing unless they have completed gender reassignment surgery and obtained a birth certificate showing their updated gender marker.

Such gender marker changes are currently not possible in several states, and the list of those states continues to grow, with over a dozen bills that would ban legal recognition of transgender individuals. Even for those with updated gender markers, should they come under investigation, they may be forced to prove their surgical status, a process that could involve examination.

The bathroom bans apply to a large swath of buildings that are partially or fully government funded, and include:

  • The Salt Lake City Airport
  • All public schools and universities
  • Many hospitals
  • Many convention centers
  • Libraries
  • Government buildings
  • Park buildings
  • Rest stops

Many people pointed out the dangers that the bill would pose to cisgender people as well. One constituent, Di Lewis, identified herself as a cisgender woman and stated, “it opens the door not just to discrimination against trans people, which has already been eloquently spoken about by everyone else, but cis people as well who do not fit neatly into stereotypical gender presentations.”

She added, “The bullying that Senator Birkeland claims to want to prevent will instead just spill over to tomboys, tall women, women with deep voices, and black women often seen as more masculine than their white peers.”

There are many examples of cisgender women being targeted under bathroom bans and policies. Should they come under investigation, they may be forced to “prove” their gender through both their birth certificate and exams of their reproductive anatomy. The sponsors of the bill had no answer to how such exams would be handled.

The bill faced heavy opposition from various legal organizations, as well as the Salt Lake City Council and the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office. In a statement about the bill, the Salt Lake City Council indicated its opposition, noting that it sends a hostile and demeaning message to transgender residents. Representing the Salt Lake County DA, Will Carlson, stated opposition due to the fact that the bill does not require any criminal intent to be charged with a crime. In total, opponents outnumbered proponents 5:1 at the hearing.

When it came time to vote, Senator Todd Weiler, a Republican, spoke out against the bill, citing the threat to federal funding, constitutional issues, and the consequences of forcing transgender men into women’s restrooms “with full beards.” He was joined by Democratic Senators Karen Kwan and Nate Blouin in critiquing the bill. Senator Kwan called for compassion, while Senator Blouin addressed the bill succinctly: “I just want to remind us in the room… this is the third year in a row we have addressed these issues. Where does it end?”

The bill, having already passed the House, advanced on a 5-3 vote. It will now go to the Senate floor for final passage. Should the bill become law, Utah will become the second state to earn a “Do Not Travel” designation on the Transgender Risk Assessment Map, indicating that transgender people passing through the state could be at legal risk.

Editor’s Note: The author of this article personally testified against HB257 as a transgender woman who passes through the Salt Lake City Airport often.

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Erin Reed is a transgender woman (she/her pronouns) and researcher who tracks anti-LGBTQ+ legislation around the world and helps people become better advocates for their queer family, friends, colleagues, and community. Reed also is a social media consultant and public speaker.

Follow her on Twitter (Link)

Website here: https://www.erininthemorning.com/

******************************************************************************************

The preceding article was first published at Erin In The Morning and is republished with permission.

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Utah House committee advances criminal anti-trans bathroom ban

The bill mirrors Florida’s trans bathroom ban and would also end all legal recognition for transgender people

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Utah House of Representatives chamber. (Photo Credit: State of Utah)

By Erin Reed | SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – On Wednesday, Utah advanced one of the most extreme anti-transgender bills in the United States. The bill, House Bill 257, would end all legal recognition for transgender individuals in the state and would enact a bathroom ban for transgender individuals of any age in many buildings.

This bill is one of several similar bills moving through state legislatures across the country, though it is one of the first to be passed out of a committee this year. It will now advance to the full House floor for further consideration.

House Bill 257, sponsored by state Representative Kera Birkeland (R-House District 4), contains several provisions that would restrict transgender individuals in public life. The first section pertains to bathrooms in any publicly funded building, including the Salt Lake City airport, convention centers, park buildings, recreational centers, buildings of public administration, colleges and universities, public schools, and more.

For transgender adults, they would be barred from these buildings unless they had an updated birth certificate and could provide proof of gender reassignment surgery. Those in violation of the law would be guilty of criminal trespass, punishable by up to six months in jail.

You can see the relevant provisions here:

When heard in committee, the bill received heavy criticism, with some witnesses pointing out that this will require all people who could be questioned in bathrooms to continually carry their birth certificates with them.

For transgender people who use the bathroom, a separate provision states that they must judge whether their presence will “likely cause affront or alarm to” another individual, essentially requiring transgender people to guess how well they “pass” to other people using the bathroom. Should they guess wrong or should somebody know their gender identity already, they could be jailed for up to six months.

These exceptions for trans people who have obtained gender reassignment surgery and an updated birth certificate, however, are rendered moot by another provision later in the bill that would make it impossible to fulfill the birth certificate requirement.

This provision essentially ends all legal recognition of transgender individuals by defining sex in a manner that excludes them from legal recognition and protections. A comparable law enacted in Kansas in 2023 led to a directive from the Attorney General, mandating the reversal of all altered birth certificates of transgender individuals to reflect their sex assigned at birth.

This law also could prohibit changes to gender markers on driver’s licenses. The proposed legislation bears similarities to recent laws in Russia and Hungary, which similarly eradicated legal recognition of transgender people.

Furthermore, multiple states are making it difficult or impossible to change one’s birth certificate. Five states currently ban birth certificate changes, and other states are considering similar legislation that would end all legal recognition for transgender individuals. Under this law, a transgender person from a state with progressive birth certificate laws, like California, could enter the restroom of their gender identity, while a person from Kansas would not be able to, even if they are identical in every other way.

Others at the committee hearing mentioned that enforcing the bill will be a nightmare. There are numerous instances where cisgender women with masculine features have been questioned in restrooms. Under the law, if someone suspects you are transgender and reports you, you might be required to present your birth certificate and potentially undergo a genital examination if under criminal investigation for being in the bathroom.

For transgender individuals who are publicly known, the options are limited; using the restroom of your assigned sex at birth could lead to questioning and investigation due to your appearance. Conversely, using the restroom matching your gender identity could result in being reported and possibly arrested if someone recognizes that you are transgender.

Should this bill pass, Utah would join Florida in becoming a “Do Not Travel” state for transgender people on the risk assessment map, a position held only by Florida after several organizations issued travel advisories warning of bathroom laws that could put them in legal jeopardy. Given that Salt Lake City airport is a common connecting flight location, this could have profound impacts on the ability of transgender people to move freely across the country.

The bill is slated for discussion and a potential vote on the House floor later today.

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Erin Reed is a transgender woman (she/her pronouns) and researcher who tracks anti-LGBTQ+ legislation around the world and helps people become better advocates for their queer family, friends, colleagues, and community. Reed also is a social media consultant and public speaker.

Follow her on Twitter (Link)

Website here: https://www.erininthemorning.com/

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The preceding article was first published at Erin In The Morning and is republished with permission.

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Young Utah trans girl delivers stunning speech to school board

A speech is gaining attention across Utah. A young trans girl named Allison tells her story with her supportive father standing behind her

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Screenshot/YouTube

By Erin Reed | WASHINGTON – Across the United States, laws and policies aimed at transgender individuals, particularly transgender students, have taken center stage. This is markedly evident in school boards, where groups such as Moms For Liberty are orchestrating efforts to enact rules that marginalize LGBTQ+ students, with a specific ire towards transgender students.

In these school board meetings, derogatory remarks are often hurled at trans individuals, portraying transgender students as violent threats. Yet occasionally, a transgender student courageously steps forward to share their own story. This was precisely the scenario in Jordan School District, where a young transgender student named Allison delivered a captivating speech, imploring for her own acceptance and humanity.

Before Allison spoke, her father approached the microphone, arms encircling his daughter, and stated, “I am here to address the board as the father of Alison,” adding that “If you’ve known her her whole life, you know this is who she’s always been.”

He then inquired if she would like to speak. That’s when she leaned into the microphone and delivered her remarks, evoking tears and applause.

“Hello fathers, daughters, mothers, and everybody else who came here today with fear, anger, and confusion… three feelings that hurt inside badly. I came here not to fight, but to make peace. How am I going to do that? I’m going to tell a story.”

She articulated her speech with honesty and emotion, recounting the first time she donned a pretty white dress and had her hair styled, and how magical it made her feel. She spoke about seeing the person she is for the first time in her life, and how, when she envisions herself as an adult, she sees “a woman dancing in a white dress through a meadow of flowers,” concluding with a plea for acceptance.

Watch her tearjerker speech here:

Over the past year, the state of Utah has significantly targeted transgender individuals like Allison. It banned gender-affirming care — without this care, trans girls like her will be compelled to endure a boy’s puberty. The state barred individuals like her from participating in sports, although this ban was halted in court and substituted with a “commission.” Seated on that commission is Paul Hruz, a notorious anti-trans doctor who has testified in favor of bans on care. Additionally, a law was enacted that prevents transgender youth from obtaining birth certificates bearing their legal gender marker.

Alongside state level attacks on trans youth, individuals opposed to transgender people have testified in school districts, labeling trans youth like Allison as “peeping toms” and “voyeurs” purportedly at risk of “sexually assaulting” fellow students. Incendiary remarks such as these have propelled some schools into adopting restrictive policies that bar trans students from bathrooms.

Yet, such concerns markedly lose ground when young trans girls like Allison come forward. It defies belief to listen to her testimony and deduce that she poses a danger to other students, or even causes them discomfort. Instead, we glean that her friends are bewildered and upset when she is barred from accompanying them to the bathroom, and that in the eyes of her friends, she belongs just as rightfully as anyone else does.

Allison’s speech is gaining traction in the state. The state’s largest newspaper, The Salt Lake Tribune, has picked up the story. Meanwhile, the anti-trans organization known as “Genspect,” often cited as an authority on transgender people by publications such as the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, reacted by putting quotes around Allison’s name and the word “daughter.” Clearly, Allison has made an impact far beyond her home school district.

The school district has not decided if it will take action on transgender students following the meeting.

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Erin Reed is a transgender woman (she/her pronouns) and researcher who tracks anti-LGBTQ+ legislation around the world and helps people become better advocates for their queer family, friends, colleagues, and community. Reed also is a social media consultant and public speaker.

Follow her on Twitter (Link)

Website here: https://www.erininthemorning.com/

******************************************************************************************

The preceding article was first published at Erin In The Morning and is republished with permission.

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Multiple Pride flags burned, Salt Lake City police ask public’s help

“The effects of a hate crime can be devastating and long-lasting for both the individual victim and the larger community”

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Photo Credit: Salt Lake City Police Department

SALT LAKE CITY, UT. – The Salt Lake City Police Department is asking for help identifying the person or people responsible for burning multiple Pride flags in a hate crime spree over the July 4 holiday weekend.

SLCPD officers responded to a home near 850 South Washington Street at 8:02 a.m., on Monday, July 3, 2023, after the homeowner reported their Pride flag had been cut down and burned.

Officers responded and learned that at least four other Pride flags in the area were vandalized. The vandalism is reported to have happened between 1-1:30 a.m.

The Salt Lake City Police Department is asking anyone living in the area to check home surveillance or doorbell cameras to see if they captured the suspect.

Anyone with information about the situation – and who has not yet already talked with an officer – should call 801-799-3000.

In a statement a department spokesperson said: “The Salt Lake City Police Department recognizes our responsibility to investigate hate crimes thoroughly and impartially to hold offenders accountable and ensure justice for survivors. The Salt Lake City Police Department educates its officers and works with our community to recognize, and condemn, hate crimes and works to prevent them from occurring in the future.”

“The effects of a hate crime can be devastating and long-lasting for both the individual victim and the larger community,” the statement continued.

All photos: Salt Lake City Police Department
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Ban on most gender-affirming health care for trans minors in Utah

Law bans gender-confirming surgeries & bars doctors from prescribing hormone therapy for minors diagnosed with “gender dysphoria”

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Utah Governor Spencer Cox (Photo Credit: Office of the Governor)

SALT LAKE CITY – Labeling a bill “a nuanced and thoughtful approach to a terribly divisive issue” Utah’s Republican Governor Spencer Cox signed a bill into law Saturday and taking affect in May that will ban most gender-affirming health care for transgender youth.

Releasing a statement after signing Senate Bill 16 (SB16) into law Cox said:

“Legislation that impacts our most vulnerable youth requires careful consideration and deliberation. While not a perfect bill, we are grateful for Sen. Kennedy’s more nuanced and thoughtful approach to this terribly divisive issue. More and more experts, states and countries around the world are pausing these permanent and life-altering treatments for new patients until more and better research can help determine the long-term consequences.”

“We will continue to push the Legislature for additional resources to organizations that work to help this important Utah community. While we understand our words will be of little comfort to those who disagree with us, we sincerely hope that we can treat our transgender families with more love and respect as we work to better understand the science and consequences behind these procedures,” the Governor added.

SB16 bans gender-confirming surgeries and places a prohibition on puberty blockers for minors barring doctors from prescribing hormone therapy for minors who have been diagnosed with “gender dysphoria.”

The ACLU of Utah had requested in a letter to the governor that he veto the bill, noting that the bill would have damaging and catastrophic effects on medical care and violate constitutional rights.

“This bill effectively bans access to life-saving medical care for transgender youth in Utah. It undermines the health and well-being of adolescents, limits the options of doctors, patients, and parents, and violates the constitutional rights of these families,” said Brittney Nystrom, Executive Director of the ACLU of Utah.

In its letter the ACLU of Utah also cited multiple court cases where similar laws passed in Arkansas and Alabama are currently enjoined by federal courts for violating equal protection and due process rights.

“This is a devastating and dangerous violation of the rights and privacy of transgender Utahns, their families, and their medical providers,” said Chase Strangio, Deputy Director for Transgender Justice at the ACLU’s LGBTQ & HIV Project. “Claims of protecting our most vulnerable with these laws ring hollow when lawmakers have trans children’s greatest protectors – their parents, providers, and the youth themselves – pleading in front of them not to cut them off from their care. I want transgender youth in Utah to know this fight is not over, and we won’t stop defending your autonomy and freedom until each and every one of you can access the care you need.”

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Attacker in Sandy Utah gay teen bashing case gets probation

Judge follows the recommendation from probation department & terminates home detention & electronic monitoring- orders probation

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Christian Peacock sitting between sister Jocelynn Peacock and boyfriend Jacob Metcalf (Photo by Stefanie Peacock)

SANDY, Ut. – A juvenile who attacked Christian Peacock and his boyfriend Jacob Metcalf on July 30 outside Peacock’s home in Sandy, an upscale suburb of Salt Lake City, was sentenced to probation by a Salt Lake County Third Judicial District juvenile court judge.

Fox News affiliate KTSU 13 reported during Wednesday’s hearing, the judge reviewed recommendations from prosecutors and the Third Judicial District juvenile probation office to determine the next steps in the case. He ruled the teen to be low risk to the community.

“I appreciate the good report from home detention, it’s an excellent report,” said the judge. “So I am going to follow the recommendation from probation and terminate you from home detention and electronic monitoring. You’re still going to be on probation.”

The judge also ordered the minor to serve additional community service hours volunteering with LGBTQ+ groups, taking an empathy class, writing an apology letter to the victim who is now 18, and paying restitution for the material damages.

“The consequences of your actions – that’s what we deal with a lot in juvenile court is kids learning how to take responsibility for their actions and learning to think before they act,” added the judge.

The judge also ordered a December 30 review of the case with a written report from the probation office to monitor the offender’s progress and to make further determinations in the case.

Speaking to reporters outside of the courthouse after the sentence was handed down, Peacock’s mother Stefanie said; “It makes me sad that still today in 2022, kids are still going through this kind of thing. That anyone is going through anything like this, and especially that it happened to my son.”

“It has always been a very safe neighborhood,” said Kyle Peacock, Peacock’s father. “Then to have something like this happen at your home, where you’re supposed to feel safe, it just, it really riled a lot of different emotions that you didn’t know you had inside of you.”

“Be kind to others and don’t punch somebody because you don’t agree with who they are, that’s just not okay. I think it’s really important that we all keep standing up and saying this is not okay,” Stefanie Peacock added. “That we are people and everyone should be loved and accepted.”

Peacock and his boyfriend Jacob Metcalf were attacked on July 30 outside the Peacock family home

A carload of men shouting anti-gay slurs drove by as 17-year-old Christian and his boyfriend Jacob Metcalf hugged each other goodnight at the end of Christian’s driveway in Sandy, an upscale suburb of Salt Lake City. Somebody in the car shouted, “We don’t want faggots in our street.” The boys were shocked, so Jacob stayed to talk instead of going right home as planned.

The car returned about 40 minutes later, and two people jumped out. 19-year-old Hayden Stowell made lewd sexual gestures, grabbing his genitals and asking if he was making Jacob and Christian sexually aroused.

Christian told me three other people stayed in the car shouting anti-gay slurs and “hyping up” the two who jumped out.

Christian told me he was afraid they would hit Jacob, so he stepped in front of him to protect him. A 17-year-old boy (name withheld due to his age) took a half step back and punched Christian’s head, knocking him senseless and eventually landing him in the hospital with brain swelling.

Christian’s sister Jocelynn heard the commotion and ran outside. She quickly captured photo evidence, snapping the car’s license plate as it roared off. Jacob filmed part of the attack, including an admission that it was motivated by hatred of gay people.

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New survey shows 72% of Utah residents back same-sex marriage

Troy Williams, executive director of Equality Utah said he’s not surprised to see that a majority of Utahns now support marriage equality

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Mayor of Salt Lake, Erin Mendenhall, raises Pride Flag, June 1 2021 (Photo/Twitter)

SALT LAKE CITY – The results of a poll run by the Hinckley Institute of Politics and the Desert News found 72% of Utah’s residents agree that marriages between same-sex couples should be recognized by law as valid, with the same rights as cis-gender marriages.

“For a state that less than 20 years ago passed laws and a constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage, there has been a seismic shift in opinion,” said Jason Perry, director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah.

The Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics survey also found that 23% of those surveyed disagreed, while 5% expressed that they don’t know.

The poll shows Utahns are aligned with the nation as a whole on the issue. A Gallup poll in May found 71% of Americans say they support legal same-sex marriage, a new high.

Troy Williams, executive director of Equality Utah, told the Desert News that he’s not surprised to see that a majority of Utahns now support marriage equality.

“Utah is a pro-family state, and we recognize that families come in all shapes and sizes. When we see loving, committed couples joining in matrimony, our natural impulse is to support and encourage that love. This gives me great hope for the future,” he said.

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