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“Stand up fight back!” – Trans Day Of Visibility brings huge crowds

TDOV in 2023 was one of the largest in years. Huge crowds gathered in cities across the US & court victories were had in Texas and Tennessee



Upwards of 1,000 people on Friday participated in a Transgender rights march from Union Station to the U.S. Capitol (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

By Erin Reed | WASHINGTON – Transgender Day of Visibility 2023 was one of the most monumental demonstration days for transgender people in years. Across the globe, people marched for trans rights in a year where more laws have been enacted targeting the community than any other time in history.

Queer Youth Assemble, a group of queer and trans youth, spearheaded the effort in the United States and held over 100 events across the country. Massive crowds marched to government buildings in Melbourne, Australia and people gathered in Vancouver and Toronto to show solidarity. As the day came to a close, news traveled about major court wins in Tennessee and Texas, leaving activists with hope that visibility could translate into victory.

Queer Youth Assemble describes itself as a queer-led youth organization of people 25 and under seeking to create the best possible world for queer youth. Originally formed over student walkouts earlier in the year over Texas and Florida legislation targeting queer and trans youth, the group has seen success in planning demonstrations. Given the huge number of the over 450 bills that target queer and trans youth in the United States, centering them and allowing them to take the lead in activism is important. Looking back at the entire day, it is clear that they delivered on their plans.

Lets recap some of the biggest marches and events in the United States as well as the court victories that came about on Trans Day of Visibility 2023:


Minnesota had a huge rally for transgender day of visibility. Representative Leigh Finke, the first transgender representative of the state, spoke at an event while queer and trans people and their allies gathered in the rotunda of the Minnesota Capitol. People filled all levels of the Capitol Building and showed solidarity with marches across the United States. Minnesota has become a safe haven state for trans people fleeing other states due to an executive order signed by the governor that says Minnesota will not extradite people to other states if they are criminalized over gender affirming care or abortion.


Florida’s activists met in the Capitol Building while the House of Representatives convened to vote for a major expansion to the Don’t Say Gay bill. This expansion would make it against the law to share pronouns in school, making it very difficult for trans people to transition in a school environment. It also would expand book bans. In response, protesters gathered in the halls of the Capitol Building and chanted slogans such as, “this is what Democracy looks like!” At times, you could hear the chanting on the House floor, interrupting speakers.

Florida’s House of Representatives did pass the bill, but by the end of the day, court victories in other states put its enforcement in question (more on that later!).


Demonstrators gathered in Montana, where some of the worst anti-trans bills this year have passed through the legislative chambers. Bills that have moved through the Montana legislature include a right to bully trans kids, a right to refuse medical care to trans people, a gender affirming care ban, a drag ban, and a ban on drivers license and birth certificate gender changes. Activists from Forward Montana, a youth-led organization focusing on anti-discrimination, held a die-in in the Capitol Building, singing and sometimes screaming so that their voices would be heard.


Indiana has been the site of some of the harshest anti-trans bills in 2023, including a gender affirming care ban that could ban things like voice therapy for trans youth. The ban currently sits on the Governor’s desk. On Trans Day of Visibility, crowds gathered as clergy leaders from several churches marched into the Governor’s Office singing “This Little Light of Mine,” encouraging the governor to veto the law.

Washington, D.C.

The nation’s capital had a large gathering on the National Mall in solidarity with transgender rights protestors all over the United States. It was one of the largest Transgender Day of Visibility marches there in recent years. D.C. has held marches since 2019.

Other Marches

There were many other marches that were resoundingly successful. Crowds were huge in San Antonio and New Orleans. Students walked out of class in Central High School in Nebraska, where a massive filibuster over anti-trans bills has brought the session to a stall. A large crowd gathered on the steps of the Vermont Capitol. For the first time in history, the transgender flag was raised among the Connecticut Capitol Building. Small towns showed up too, such as this local gathering in Florence, Alabama!

Court Victories

While the crowds across the United States drew national media attention, late in the day, news broke that two significant court victories had occurred. In Texas, Llano County ordered books removed from libraries for their LGBTQ+ content. A federal judge struck down that order, demanding that the books be put back on the shelves and the catalogue updated to account for their renewed availability. Book bans have been a huge issue in several states this year, and this ruling could have implications for broader bans in places like Florida.

In Tennessee, another huge victory emerged. A federal judge in Tennessee ruled that the drag ban there was likely unconstitutional and placed a temporary restraining order blocking it from going into effect. The ruling itself was scathing towards the drag ban, at one point stating that the judge “could see at least three ways in which the ban would violate the rights of citizens in Tennessee.”

Portion of the ruling where the judge states the Plaintiffs are likely to succeed on the merits.

Transgender Day of Visibility achieved remarkable success, with widespread marches and significant victories. Demonstrations spanned vast geographic areas and featured large, passionate crowds. Activists employed innovative tactics to protest legislation, even as some bills advanced while they watched. News of courtroom triumphs will buoy those who oppose anti-trans legislation, who have consistently argued throughout the year that such bills violate the Constitution and will squander taxpayer dollars in futile legal defenses. On this day of vigorous protests and achievements, activists have ample reason to take pride in their accomplishments.


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:


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



The right’s crusade against corporate Pride Month campaigns

While acknowledging they “can’t boycott every woke company or even most of them,” right-wing figures created a playbook for future boycotts



Graphic by Andrea Austria for Media Matters

 By Jack Winstanley & Charis Hoard WASHINGTON – As major consumer brands continue to partner with members of the LGBTQ+ community, release Pride Month products, and carry out Pride campaigns, right-wing figures are responding with an escalating anti-LGBTQ+ crusade that aims to make inclusive branding a “market death wish.”

Currently, right-wing figures are celebrating Target’s decision to remove some of its Pride Month merchandise after a month-long campaign saw anti-LGBTQ activists harass and threaten store employees, with some figures even endorsing violence and acts of vandalism against the retailer. On May 25, disgraced CPAC Chair Matt Schlapp sent a letter to Target’s CEO & Board of Directors calling for an end to their partnership with a designer of the Pride collection who Schlapp claims is a “self-declared ‘satanist’” and “openly flaunts his anti-Christian agenda.”

Calling for boycotts is not a new tactic for right-wing activists. Former President Donald Trump and his allies attempted to organize a boycott against Major League Baseball after the 2021 All-Star Game was removed from Atlanta in protest of the state’s restrictive voting laws. Right-wing figures also attempted to start a boycott of the country band The Dixie Chicks (now known as The Chicks) in 2003 over their public opposition to the Iraq War.The right-wing attacks against Bud Light for their collaboration with trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney has ignited current frenzies to boycott companies seeking to be more inclusive.

While acknowledging that they “can’t boycott every woke company or even most of them,” right-wing figures have created a playbook for future boycotts that aims to make Pride messaging “culturally toxic” and make all companies fearful of eliciting similar responses to inclusive campaigns. Some figures have been encouraging their followers to pick their targets, and have only been increasing calls for boycotts and violence as Pride Month approaches. Some have even attempted to cash-in on the outrage, peddling products mocking companies that have expressed their support for the LGBTQ+ community.

Below is a timeline of the right’s biggest pressure campaigns from the last year:

Key Events

State Farm (May 2022): In May 2022, a right-wing consumer advocacy group released emails showing State Farm’s participation with a non-profit organization that provides trans-inclusive books to schools in Florida. 

The violently anti-trans social media outlet Libs of TikTok amplified the campaign against State Farm, and the conservative outlet The Washington Examiner accused State Farm of “encouraging its agents in Florida to donate books promoting transgenderism to 5-year-olds.”Following the backlash, a spokesperson from State Farm confirmed to the Washington Post that the company had ended its partnership and would explore new ways to pursue diversity and inclusion.

M&M’s (2022 – January 2023): In early 2023, M&M came under fire from right-wing media for making changes to their “spokescandies” with the intent to make the mascots more inclusive.

Former Fox host Tucker Carlson took to his show to criticize the changes made to the mascots, and other Fox hosts followed suit, calling the changes made “virtue signaling gone wrong.” Carlson famously had an on-air meltdown over the changes to the mascots, slamming them for being “less sexy,” and America First Policy Institute ambassador Nick Adams berated the changes as a “nuclear strike in the war on men.”

In late January 2023, M&M announced that their mascots will be taking an “indefinite pause” and replaced by actor Maya Rudolph. The “indefinite pause” ended in February 2023, when the mascots were brought back after Rudolph’s appearance in M&M’s Super Bowl ad. 

LEGO (February – April 2023): The LEGO Group announced that it would create minifigures representing people with disabilities, different skin tones, and other diverse characteristics, including pivoting some existing product lines to feature characters with LGBTQ identities and mental health conditions.

Fox News and other right-wing outlets quickly criticized the toymaker for “going woke.” In April, a TikTok showing a man harassing a Lego Store employee for wearing a Pride flag pin went viral, with right-wing social media users sharing it widely.

Hershey’s (March 2023 – ongoing): To celebrate International Women’s Day in Canada, Hershey’s released an ad campaign including a trans woman. Right-wing social media users called for a boycott of Hershey, claiming that the company is “erasing women.” 

In response, Daily Wire co-founder Jeremy Boreing launched his own chocolate company featuring branding that mocked Hershey’s attempts to incorporate pronouns into its packaging. Boreing’s chocolate brand was criticized for its ineffective packaging and inflated pricing.

Bud Light (April 2023 – ongoing): Transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney shared a sponsored post with Bud Light, resulting in an intense boycott campaign against Bud Light and other Anheuser-Busch products.

Some right-wing figures, including singer Kid Rock, posted videos of themselves destroying cans of Bud Light in protest. Right-wing media fixated on the outrage, with figures using the ad campaign as an excuse to launch bigoted attacks against Mulvaney and Bud Light for partnering with her.

Some even took the chance to peddle their own products as alternatives to Bud Light. Anheuser-Busch responded to the backlash by claiming that the company “never intended to be part of a discussion that divides people,” and dismissing two high-level marketing directors.

Nike (April 2023 – ongoing): Mulvaney also unveiled a partnership with Nike, with Mulvaney posting a video on Instagram advertising the brand’s leggings and sports bras. Right-wing commentators and social media figures, including former Olympic athletes Sharron Davies and Caitlyn Jenner, condemned the partnership. Soon after, a “burn bra challenge” started on TikTok in protest. 

Nike responded to the hate directed at Mulvaney through an Instagram comment, which read in part: “Be kind. Be inclusive. Encourage each other.”

Jack Daniel’s (April 2023 – ongoing): In early April, right-wing social media users dug up two-year-old Pride Month advertisements for Jack Daniel’s whiskey that featured contestants from RuPaul’s Drag Race, claiming that the distiller had “gone woke.”

Soon after, a video went viral of a man setting alite hundreds of dollars worth of Jack Daniel’s whiskey and merchandise in a belated protest of the 2021 ad campaign. A spokesperson stated to PinkNews that “Jack Daniel’s is made with everyone in mind, including the LGBTQ+ community.”

Sports Illustrated (May 2023 – ongoing): Sports Illustrated unveiled that transgender singer Kim Petras would be on one of the four covers of this year’s Swimsuit Edition, sparking backlash from right-wing commentators.

Right-wing backlash divulged into transphobic attacks, even going so far as to say that Petras, who received permission for gender confirmation surgery at age 16, is aiding in the promotion of “the trans agenda” and “the idea that, yes, children can consent to being permanently mutilated and, yes, sterilized.”

Los Angeles Dodgers (May 2023 – ongoing): The Los Angeles Dodgers announced that the team would be removing the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence after the club received backlash from right-wing figures for including the group in its annual Pride Night celebration.

The Sisters have been active in raising money for HIV/AIDS awareness and treatment in Southern California since the 1970s and have made religious-themed drag outfits a hallmark of their charity organization.

Right-wing figures had labeled the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence a “hate group” over their use of Christian imagery and criticized the Dodgers for inviting them, claiming the Pride Night event was hostile to Christians.

Later, the Dodgers rescinded their previous statement and reinvited the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence to the Pride Night celebration. Right-wing responses to the Sisters’ reinstatement have been rife with calls to violence; BlazeTV host Steve Deace called for a “fatwa” against the team “that would draw blood,” and Infowars host Owen Shroyer encouraged his audience to join “conservatives” at Pride Night, sardonically questioning, “I wonder how that’s going to go.”

Adidas (May 2023 – ongoing): Sportswear brand Adidas released its Pride Month campaign featuring a male-presenting model wearing the brand’s “Pride Swimsuit,” and immediately faced transphobic attacks from right-wing media.

The backlash from conservative figures included insulting the model for having a noticeable genital bulge and claiming that the campaign “erases women” by not labeling the campaign as unisex.

Target (May 2023 – ongoing): As Target’s annual Pride Month merchandise line gradually hit stores in the first half of May, right-wing social media users began posting calls for boycotts over the product line.

Prominent right-wing commentators attacked the retailer, claiming that anyone shopping at Target was a pervert, endorsing vandalism against Pride displays, or stating that Target was “perverting our children and grooming them.” Target announced that it would remove part of its Pride collection from stores following harassment and threats against employees and instances of vandalism against in-store pride displays.

Walmart (May 2023 – ongoing): Walmart is reportedly being targeted by a number of right-wing social media users over its Pride collection after their apparent success against Target.

The North Face (May 2023 – ongoing): In May 2023, The North Face announced its second Summer of Pride campaign coinciding with the release of its Pride collection, with advertisements featuring drag queen Pattie Gonia. In response, right-wing media began their typical attacks, saying that The North Face had the goal of “making fun of women” by featuring a drag queen in its campaign, and claiming that the company has “gone trans.”

From the March 25, 2023, edition of The Daily Wire’s The Micheal Knowles Show:


The preceding article was previously published by Media Matters For America and is republished with permission.

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News Analysis

Bombshell report led to GOP Senator rejecting youth trans ban

A Republican Senator voted against a gender affirming care ban in Louisiana. He did so because a report showed the care is safe & effective



Sen. Fred Mills became a target of conservatives within his own party after he bucked his party to kill a proposed ban on gender affirming healthcare for minors (Sarah Gamard/LSU Manship School News Service)

By Erin Reed | WASHINGTON – The trend of banning gender-affirming care for transgender youth was gaining momentum in conservative-leaning states, leading many to fear that the entirety of the Southeastern United States would follow suit.

However, on Wednesday, Louisiana bucked this trend. Louisiana became the only state in the Southeast and one of only four states with Republican trifectas or legislative supermajorities to defeat such a ban in its legislature.

This defeat provides transgender individuals, particularly those in neighboring states where such care is banned, with a vital source for their medical needs. Coupled with court blocks on similar bans in other Southeastern states, those who must cross state lines for their care likely feel a sense of relief. Without a doubt, transgender individuals in Louisiana are among those breathing easier.

House Bill 648, which had already passed the Louisiana House of Representatives with a 71-27 vote, faced strong opposition during the committee hearing. Aware that it could be their last opportunity to quash the bill, family members and allies delivered impassioned testimonies.

Louisiana Trans Advocates played a crucial role in these efforts, holding private meetings with Senators to provide education on the treatment in question. The deciding moment arrived when Republican Senator Fred Mills broke ranks and voted against the bill. His unexpected decision prevented the bill from reaching the Senate floor for a full vote, surprising advocates across the nation and effectively halting the bill’s progression.

When asked why he voted against the bill, he cited a Louisiana Department of Health report commissioned in 2022 and released earlier this year that returned strong findings in support of gender affirming care.

“My decision was really, really based on the numbers. All the testimony I heard by the proponents that children are getting mutilated, I didn’t see it in the statistics,” Mills said in an interview.

The findings of the Louisiana Department of Health when looking at their medicaid data and summarizing research were extensive. Importantly, they found that zero surgeries were ever done on minors in the state, puberty blockers were exceedingly rare, regret rates were extremely low, and trans youth had positive mental health outcomes. They also compared consent to transgender care to many other forms of care where medical consent on the behalf of youth is allowed. See the relevant findings:

Relevant summary of findings for Louisiana Medicaid Report for transgender people.

Interestingly, the report provides a sharp contrast to a widely reported study commissioned by the State of Florida later shown to be based on unethical omissions and intentional misrepresentations of data. The Florida report claims that gender-affirming care is harmful and experimental, directly contradicting the stance of all major U.S. medical organizations. This controversial report was overseen by physicians chosen from the American College of Pediatricians, a conservative group known for endorsing conversion therapy. The group’s name, intentionally similar to the larger professional society, the American Academy of Pediatrics, was designed to mislead lawmakers.

Recent court findings reveal that the Florida report’s authors manipulated research findings to support a gender-affirming care ban in the state. Despite receiving considerable media attention, and even a citation in The BMJ, this report has come under scrutiny for the apparent manipulation of data. Conversely, the Louisiana report, which did not distort data, stayed under the radar until yesterday’s vote.

Following the vote, Louisiana is set to become a crucial and unlikely refuge for transgender youth seeking care. Given the ban on gender-affirming care for transgender youth in many of its neighboring states, individuals often must cross state lines for treatment. Had Louisiana enacted such a ban, its transgender youth would have faced some of the longest travel distances in the country to access care, with many needing to embark on drives exceeding 10 hours to reach the nearest legal clinic.

The response to the vote from the far right was predictable, with Matt Walsh stating that this would be “one of the biggest mistakes of his career” and with Greg Price, a leader of the State Freedom Caucus Network, asking his followers to bombard Mills with phone calls:

Matt Walsh and Greg Price tweets against Senator Mills

When asked about his vote, Senator Mills simply stated, “They don’t live in District 22. They don’t have a 337 area code. I didn’t run for office to serve those people.”

Moving forward, Republicans are making attempts to revise the bill, although there are indications that Governor John Bel Edwards would likely veto the measure. If the bill remains defeated, Louisiana will likely see desperate families looking to its borders with hope. At minimum, the trans youth residents in Louisiana have more time to obtain their care and can rest a little easier tonight.


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:


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

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News Analysis

Tennessee law rolls back Trans rights, regressively defines sex

Gov. Bill Lee just signed into law a bill that would define sex to exclude trans people & require it on all legal documents



Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Lee (Photo Credit: Office of the Governor)

By Erin Reed | WASHINGTON – Gov. Bill Lee enacted Senate Bill 1440 today, which redefines sex in Tennessee’s legal code in a manner that excludes transgender individuals from legal protections.

The bill stipulates sex as “immutable at birth,” and “defined by anatomy and genetics existing at the time of birth” under all state laws. The legislation could profoundly impact transgender residents, threatening their anti-discrimination protections and access to certain services like shelters.

It also would mean that transgender people could not change their sex on their drivers licenses or birth certificates – something that every other state before this year allowed.

The actual bill is short – barely half a page – and presents a simplistic definition of sex. Proponents of the bill often suggest it “changes little” or merely “establishes a definition,” yet for transgender individuals, this bill fundamentally alters their rights.

Prior to its passage, gender markers on driver’s licenses in Tennessee could be modified according to the National Center for Transgender Equality. Until today, changes required “a statement from the attending physician that necessary medical procedures to accomplish the change in gender are complete.”

This new definition of sex will be used across countless legal documents, the implications of which may not be fully realized for years to come. It’s only through future court cases that the full impact of this new definition will be tested and understood. The newly implemented definition reads as follows:

Definition of sex in Tennessee SB1440

There are clear and immediate problems with this definition of sex. It entirely excludes intersex people and does not provide any clarity on how intersex people should be treated under this law. Not all intersex conditions easily lean in a binary fashion. Some intersex conditions have both ovarian and testicular tissue present. Some intersex conditions, such as Mosaicism, can cause this. The law provides no clarity for the definition used for of these individuals.

The bill is also flatly discriminatory. Legal precedent exists protecting transgender people as covered under sex-based discrimination. The Supreme Court sided with transgender people in 2021 under the Bostock v. Clayton County decision. In Bostock v. Clayton County, which was heard over discrimination in employment law, the Supreme Court decided 6-3 with Neil Gorsuch writing the majority opinion that, discriminating against transgender people is sex discrimination: “When an employer fires an employee for being homosexual or transgender, it necessarily and intentionally discriminates against that individual in part because of sex.”

Gender marker changes are important for trans people. When stopped in an airport, when presenting your ID for age verification at bars, or when requested by police officers, having mismatched IDs can cause uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous situations. The 2015 US Transgender Survey reported that as a result of showing incorrect IDs, 25% of transgender people experienced verbal harassment as a result. You can see the results here:

They The People: Accurate Gender Markers for All | American Civil Liberties  Union
ACLU Report on US Transgender Survey

Social transition is a major part of transition, and laws like this one in Tennessee target social transition. Changing legal documents in and of itself results in better mental health outcomes for trans people. A survey from the Trevor Project confirmed that gender marker changes and correct legal documents could reduce suicide risk by more than 50%:

Reduction in suicide risk from having correct markers.

Tennessee joins several other states that have passed similar laws recently. North Dakota and Kansas enacted comparable legislation earlier this year, with Kansas going a step further to restrict bathroom access for transgender individuals, although it lacks enforcement mechanisms for this provision. Similarly, Montana passed a law excluding transgender people from 41 sections of its legal code. This same law famously led to Rep. Zooey Zephyr being silenced, at which point she raised her microphone in a show of solidarity with protesters.

These recent laws clearly show an alarming trend that targets not only transgender youth and athletes, but also transgender adults. They insidiously strip away all legal protections and recognition for trans individuals. They are also signify a sweeping societal setback – up until this year, trans people could have full legal recognition.

By eliminating the ability to amend documents and stripping away anti-discrimination protections, these laws push transgender people towards precarious situations and effectively treat them as second-class citizens in comparison to their cisgender peers. Tennessee has shown disregard for these concerns this year, as it hastens to demote transgender citizens to that status.


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:


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

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News Analysis

Florida: Arrests to follow regardless of legal gender status

The wording of the ban raises serious concerns that many transgender adults are in imminent danger of arrest once the law comes into effect



Florida Governor Ron DeSantis holding up anti-LGBTQ laws signed at a private Christian school May 17, 2023. (Screenshot/YouTube)

By Erin Reed | WASHINGTON – Today, Ron DeSantis posed with several children as he signed multiple laws targeting the transgender community. 

One law expands “Don’t Say Gay” to the 12th grade, bans books, and bans updating pronouns, making transition in a school environment much more difficult. Another uses obscenity laws to potentially target drag events, which has already led to pride parades being cancelled.

Yet another bill bans gender affirming care for trans youth and bans nurse practitioners — the providers of nearly 80% of gender-affirming care — from treating trans adults. The most troubling bill, though, is a ban on transgender people in bathrooms that comes with criminal charges and jail sentences.

The wording of the ban raises serious concerns that many transgender adults are in imminent danger of arrest once the law comes into effect.

House Bill 1521 will effectively give second-class citizen status to transgender people in Florida. The wording of the bill states that if a cisgender person is in the bathroom with a transgender person, an employee can tell the transgender person to leave. Should the transgender person not leave immediately for any reason, they will be charged with criminal trespass, which can carry sentences of up to 1 year in jail – likely a jail of the wrong gender identity, which will put trans people in immense danger of sexual assault.

While the provisions do not ban all bathroom usage, they cast a wide net over an alarming number of locations that would fall under definitions of “public” in the bill. This includes all buildings owned or leased by any governmental entity, educational institutions spanning from elementary schools to private colleges and universities, numerous hospitals owned by universities, many sports arenas, convention centers, city parks, beaches, airports, and more.

You can see the provisions on public bathrooms here:

Prohibition on bathroom usage with criminal trespass penalties.

Many transgender people erroneously believe they will be exempt from this law due to updated gender markers and birth certificate changes. The Florida bathroom ban specifically defines sex in a way that does not utilize legal sex or birth certificate sex. Instead, it states that sex is determined by this law as “indicated by the person’s sex chromosomes, naturally occurring sex hormones, and internal and external genitalia present at birth.” It then defines male and female based on reproductive capacity.

As a result, enforcement might involve criminal investigations into transgender people’s sex based off of profiling alone. Transgender people may be forced to undergo genitalia exams, DNA testing, and historical investigations if they are accused of violating the bathroom ban.

See the definitions used for sex in this law here:

Definitions of sex used for the bill.

The bill will result in many arrests of transgender people based on the wide range of places that it applies to as well as the lack of knowledge on how sex is defined and will be applied. Worse, many transgender people will risk arrest by going into the bathroom that the state law requires trans people to enter. Transgender people who are androgenous or pass as their gender identity will likely be challenged in the bathroom of their birth sex. Those trans people will then be forced to undergo the same investigation into their gender. In essence, it amounts to a ban on bathrooms for transgender people entirely.

Due to the way that laws go into effect in Florida, the bathroom ban will go into effect on July 1st – the day after Pride Month.

The bathroom bill would be bad enough, but DeSantis signed three other anti-trans bills into law as well. One of the most problematic of those bills is a ban on most gender affirming care for transgender adults. Senate Bill 254 bans gender affirming care for trans youth and bans nurse practitioners from providing gender affirming care to trans adults. SPEKTRUM Health, a provider in Florida, has indicated in an exclusive interview with Erin In The Morning that up to 80% of all gender care in the state is provided by nurse practitioners – a statistic in line with information provided by Planned Parenthood.

Already, people are losing access to medication in Florida and Lana Dunn of SPEKTRUM Health has stated that transgender people are having appointments cancelled by medical organizations around the state. This is because unlike the bathroom ban, which goes into effect July 1st, SB254 has an immediate effective date. Due to penalties provided by SB254, many medical providers have determined they can no longer provide that care.

Medical appointments are not the only thing being cancelled – a third law signed by DeSantis is an obscenity law that will likely be utilized to go after pride parades and drag. Senate Bill 1438 has an immediate effective date and has already led to cancellations of pride events, including the Treasure Coast Pride Parade.

The final law signed by DeSantis was House Bill 1069, a Don’t Say Gay expansion, attacks trans and queer people in new ways. Transgender people will not be able to share updated pronouns with their classmates and students. It will also allow for challenging of books in libraries that have LGBTQ+ topics and will expand existing Don’t Say Gay provisions to the 12th grade. This will go into effect on July 1st.

The effective dates of these laws are as follows:

  • HB1521 – Bathroom Ban – Effective July 1, 2023
  • HB1069 – Don’t Say Gay Expansion – Effective July 1, 2023
  • SB254 – Trans Youth Ban, Adult 80% Care Ban – Effective Immediately
  • SB1438 – Obscenity Law Targeting Drag – Effective Immediately

Collectively, these laws represent a direct affront to the liberties of transgender and queer Floridians, marking the most radical assortment of laws targeting transgender people ever ratified by any state. The bathroom ban, in particular, if permitted to take full effect, may serve as an ominous blueprint for other states that have exhibited an interest in passing anti-transgender legislation this year. Given the escalating, heated rhetoric and increasingly draconian laws that typically gain traction across the nation after Florida’s endorsement—a pattern we have observed consistently over recent years— it’s plausible that such a bathroom ban will emerge as a legislative template in 2024.

As it stands, transgender Floridians are unwittingly stepping into a perilous landscape, and if the law is vigorously enforced, the impending surge of arrests will likely take everyone aback in the coming months.


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:


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

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News Analysis

Florida agencies manipulated research to ban trans healthcare

Florida passed a law that has banned gender affirming care for trans youth as well as Medicaid coverage for trans adults



Florida's Health Care Administration Secretary Jason Weida. Before his appointment as secretary this year, Weida was the agency’s assistant deputy secretary for Medicaid policy and Medicaid quality at a time when it developed a rule that blocked payments to health care providers for treatments such as puberty blockers, hormone therapy and surgeries for trans people. (Screenshot/YouTube)

By Erin Reed | WASHINGTON – On August 11th, last year Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration banned gender affirming care coverage from Medicaid. Meanwhile, the board of medicine proceeded to ban gender affirming care for transgender youth.

To do this, they relied on a newly created “Standards of Care” for the treatment of gender dysphoria that was rife with errors and omissions. Now, new court filings show that the Florida Surgeon General’s Office and the Agency for Health Care Administration purposefully manipulated this research to justify banning gender affirming care, including a flow chart produced before the “research” was commissioned with the explicit end goal of “care effectively banned.” Worse, they utilized a consultant from a religious conversion therapy organization to do so.

The newly minted Florida “Generally Accepted Professional Medical Standards Determination on the Treatment of Gender Dysphoria” were released in June 2022, and within a month, Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration banned gender affirming care coverage.

Florida’s board of medicine relied on it heavily in their ban on gender affirming care for transgender youth as well. The document, which claims that “gender affirming care” is experimental and does not meet medical guidelines, was immediately slammed by scientific and medical organizations and experts.

Yale Review scathingly criticized the report, stating, “We are alarmed that Florida’s health care agency has adopted a purportedly scientific report that so blatantly violates the basic tenets of scientific inquiry… So repeated and fundamental are the errors in the June 2 Report that it seems clear that the report is not a serious scientific analysis but, rather, a document crafted to serve a political agenda.”

Now, we have direct evidence that this was the case. In a lawsuit aiming to reverse Florida’s Medicaid ban, the discovery process unearthed documents from the Florida Surgeon General’s Office. These papers reveal the unambiguous objective of the research: to arrive at an outcome where “care is effectively banned.” See this flowchart obtained in discovery documents:

Flowchart of the research plan with “Care effectively banned” as an end result.

To make matters worse, the Surgeon General’s Office of Florida, which is supposed to make its decisions using rigorous scientific and medical standards, tapped leaders from the misleadingly named American College of Pediatricians (ACP), a conversion therapy organization designated as a hate group by the Southern Policy Law center, to consult on its production. Emails show that Jason Weida of Florida’s AHCA was put in touch with Dr. Andre Van Mol, a religious fundamentalist and conversion therapy supporter who chairs the adolescent sexuality committee of the American College of Pediatricians.

You can see this email, unearthed by anti-LGBTQ+ extremism researcher Zinnia Jones from discovery documents in Florida:

Dear Jason and Trey,

Due to two unforeseen family crises, I must decline serving as a consultant for the State of FL at this time. My well-credentialed and equally expert in GD colleague, Dr. Andre Van Mol, has agreed to take my place so I am introducing him to you in this email.

Dr. Van Mol is a practicing Family Medicine physician in CA. In addition to being published on matters of medical ethics and childhood GD, he is Chair of the Adolescent Sexuality Committee of the American College of Pediatricians and a spokesperson for the Christian Medical and Dental Associations. He will be an outstanding consultant for your team in terms of provision of and analysis of studies. He has catalogued the literature as long as I have.

Dr. Van Mol would go on to promote documents created by the ACP in order to get them enshrined into Florida’s medical literature. One such document was developed in January 2023 and was discovered due to a massive leak of documents by the organization. This document is quoted by Jones as being a “129-page file of references and sources for anti-trans arguments, attributed to Andre Van Mol and dated January 2, 2022” – you can find a full link to the first version of the document in Jones’ research. The slightly updated document was directly sent to the AHCA with a few additions in order to help develop their standards of care with the explicit goal to ban trans care and can be found in the court filings.

This document houses much of the now-known-to-be deliberately distorted research that Yale scientists denounced as flagrantly unscientific. For example, Yale researchers highlighted how the Florida Standards of Care recommend that trans youth should not receive any medical care, asserting that psychotherapy alone, termed “watchful waiting” by the Florida standards, is adequate for trans youth. To validate this, the standards lean heavily on a criticisms from a single doctor, Dr. James Cantor, while overlooking studies that demonstrate the effectiveness of gender-affirming care in reducing suicides. All justifications for this approach, including the dependence on Cantor, can be traced back to the documents from the American College of Pediatricians (ACP) that Dr. Van Mol utilized and passed on to the Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration (AHCA).

Dr. Van Mol himself is a noted proponent of “reparative therapy” and “sexual orientation change efforts.” He has published multiple articles in favor of conversion therapy, including an article that claims that “homosexuality can be changeable” and that there is “no evidence of harm” in sexual orientation conversion therapy, despite research showing that conversion therapy raises suicide rates by as much as 800%. In a recent video discussing conversion therapy, Dr. Van Mol advocates for conversion therapy and asks for pastors supporting LGBTQ+ people to repent.

The Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration and the Florida Surgeon General are now incontrovertibly implicated in distorting research to further their objective of banning gender-affirming care. The manipulated research was facilitated using materials generated by a Christian fundamentalist conversion therapy group, the American College of Pediatricians, and a consultant advocating for sexual conversion therapy, Dr. Van Mol, with the end goal of banning care explicitly spelled out.

The newly established “standards of care” in Florida have been lambasted for flawed interpretations of scientific papers, selective omission of critical facts, and the incorporation of unsubstantiated pseudoscience reviews by Yale researchers. Such practices, in an academic context, would warrant severe sanctions and spell the end of careers for those involved. It amounts to academic misconduct on a scale rarely seen, particularly given the subsequent use of this research to deny care to tens of thousands of Floridians.

The manipulated research has begun to infiltrate other scholarly arenas. A recent British Medical Journal article, “Gender dysphoria in young people is rising—and so is professional disagreement,” cited the Florida study to question the appropriateness of gender-affirming care as the standard medical approach to gender dysphoria. Subsequently, an expert in the case of Dekker v Weida, which contests the ban on gender-affirming care, referenced the BMJ’s article to back the ban. Ironically, that very article partly relies on Florida’s manipulated research!

It reveals a striking lack of integrity for those involved in Florida to question the scientific validity of the care standards for transgender individuals, given that the state’s research findings were deliberately tampered with to endorse banning such care. The court will assess these arguments when deciding whether to overturn the rule prohibiting Medicaid coverage of gender-affirming care in the months ahead. Documents uncovered during the discovery process will be instrumental in shaping the final judicial decision.


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:


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

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News Analysis

The future of queer content at stake in Writers’ Guild strike

Changing working conditions in Hollywood are threatening the ability to sustain diverse voices and content



Photo Credit: Writers Guild of America West

By Rob Salerno | HOLLYWOOD – The future of queer representation in film and television could be at stake in the ongoing negotiations between the Writers Guild of American and the Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers, many people are saying at the WGA strike enters its third week. 

The WGA is broadly demanding better pay and better working conditions for film and television writers, alleging that studios are increasingly demanding unpaid labor from writers and reducing writing jobs in television. They’re also demanding limitations on the use of artificial intelligence in drafting scripts. The WGA says these developments are making writing in Hollywood unsustainable for the vast majority of writers.

Rob Forman, Co-Chair of the WGA West LGBTQ+ Committee, says the WGA’s demands will help support the development and advancement of queer talent in Hollywood.

“I don’t necessarily think this WGA action targets queer content so much as it targets the career growth of queer creators. Because with small rooms and short orders and inability to train on set and get experience, we’re not training up as many queer showrunners and creators as we could,” he says. “Queer writers having that track record and credit sheet is as important to getting that content as the idea itself.”

Gay literary manager Garrett Greer says the career track for writers has broken, and that’s already causing hiring issues in Hollywood. 

“Basically, because the pipeline has been broken so long, there aren’t a more diverse array of writers in these upper-level jobs because they haven’t gotten the opportunity to grow to that,” he says. “So many times I’ll get the call looking for an upper-level ‘insert demography here,’ and I’ll say, ‘cool, all those people are working,’ because there’s so few because they haven’t had the opportunity to grow into those jobs.”

Increasingly, studios have been trending toward smaller “mini-rooms” – writing rooms with fewer staffed writers, hired for shorter periods, often without assistants and without including employment on set or during post-production.  

Greer says the WGA’s demand for minimum writing staff sizes on television shows could have an important impact on diverse content. 

“[With guaranteed staff sizes] there would be a constellation of writers of varying levels and perspectives. When it’s a mini-room, the showrunner is like, ‘great, I’ll hire two of my buddies,’ and they’ll likely be similar to the showrunner, and statistically, that’s a straight cis white man. Hopefully, this will increase opportunities and foster a wider diversity of voices in those rooms, because there would be spots in those rooms,” he says. 

Often a writer from a diverse background will get hired as a staff writer in a mini-room, and be the only diverse voice in the staff.

“They get a staff writer who has to be the voice of that point of view to a showrunner, and they’re the ones with the lowest currency in the room. They can’t even be the squeaky wheel,” Greer says.

It hasn’t been lost on writers that studios’ moves to make writing an unsustainable career path is happening right as the push for more diversity in writing rooms and on screen is bringing more queer people and people of color into the industry.

“Whether its coincidence or causal, the fact of the matter is there’s a push for diversity and a simultaneous downward pressure on writer salary and opportunity. I would like to think better of our creative partners in studios,” Forman says. “We didn’t ask for the business model to be broken. We’re not asking for the business to go back to the way it was. We deserve a piece of what we create.” 

Forman says that a lot of people outside of the writing side of the industry don’t understand the demands that are placed on writers to do unpaid work.

“In development, there are months and months of work that isn’t compensated,” he says. “If you were in a writer’s room 40 weeks a year for a 22-episode show, no one would be complaining about what we’re complaining about now, but again, that model was broken.” 

These pressures impact feature film writers as well. Often feature writers are pressured to spend months developing or rewriting a script without receiving pay, an practice the WGA is seeking to rein in.

Up-and-coming bisexual screenwriter Lynn Yu says she’s experienced this firsthand.

“In what’s known as screenwriting bake-offs, a studio will put out an assignment for writers to have a take on this idea, or a job that’s up for a rewrite, and in order to get those jobs, sometimes you’re turning in ten-page outlines, whipping up pitch documents, all of which is uncompensated. You’re taking meetings and feedback and this can go on for weeks at a time, and if you don’t get the contract, you spend all of that time for nothing,” she says. “It’s very possible for a writer to spend a whole year pitching on four or five projects and nothing comes to fruition.”

The expectation of free labor limits who can afford to pursue screenwriting as a profession, Yu says.

“It’s definitely going to favor people who are privileged enough to be able to sustain living in a city like this with little to no income, whether that’s people who come from money, nepo babies,” she says.

While the WGA’s demands to limit the use of AI for writing has generated headlines about the fear of AI simply limiting job opportunities for writers, Forman says the use of AI may have a more insidious effect on diverse content, particularly queer content.

He says that because AI text generators work by scouring existing content to use as ‘inspiration’ for its texts, scripts generated by AI will likely be informed by works that have historically underrepresented or poorly represented queer and trans people and other diverse voices.  

“Because of how homophobic and transphobic society has been and continues to be in many ways, the texts that this AI is learning from and pulling from when it’s trying to create, are never going to be as inclusive of our community as we want it to be,” he says. “I don’t look forward to AI remixing hoary old tropes that exist out there instead of people growing up and telling the story they never got see.”

“For a community that’s had to look into the subtext of movies to find itself represented because for so long you couldn’t have a gay character, it’s up to us to tell our own stories.”


Rob Salerno is a writer, journalist and actor based in Los Angeles, California, and Toronto, Canada.

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News Analysis

Trans patients being dropped as Florida law bans “Up To 80%”

Most media coverage on the impact of SB254 in Florida has focused on trans youth- in reality, it threatens 80% of all trans adult care



Photo Credit: Equality Florida

By Erin Reed | WASHINGTON – A new Florida law threatens to disrupt up to 80% of gender affirming care for transgender adults, yet this impact has been largely underreported. The legislation, SB254, has been passed and will go into effect when signed by Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida.

It has caught the eye of LGBTQ+ media primarily due to its impact on transgender youth as outlined in the bill’s provisions: it outright bans gender affirming care for this demographic, and may also introduce complexities in custody scenarios where parents disagree on affirmation.

While the majority of discourse around SB254 focuses on its repercussions for transgender youth, a provision that has received less attention within the bill is already spelling disaster for transgender adult care. The legislation bars all nurse practitioners from offering gender affirming care and imposes additional restrictions on informed consent care for transgender adults. Considering that nurse practitioners provide the majority of gender affirming care, this could drastically reduce the number of providers, lowering it to a level that is unsustainable for Florida’s transgender patient population.

In an exclusive conversation with Lana Dunn from SPEKTRUM Health, the clinic has indicated that it is getting a near constant influx of phone calls from patients whose appointments are being cancelled. Reasons for cancellation include that the care is too difficult to provide now given new liabilities introduced by this law and restrictions on perscribers. While SPEKTRUM is still providing care, Dunn indicates that they are in an uncomfortable limbo:

“We have thousands of patients at SPEKTRUM, all of whom are eagerly trying to get their appointments in before the law goes into effect and we simply have no way to keep up with the demand. Our team has been working feverishly throughout all of this to meet the demand,” Dunn says.

When asked about organizations that are ceasing care, she even indicated that once the law takes effect, SPEKTRUM may have to cease care: “Here at SPEKTRUM we are operating at the highest capacity possible until such a time as the law goes into effect at which point we will have no choice but to cease providing gender affirming care.”

The provisions causing trouble for organizations are seen here:

Section mandating care be provided by Physicians along with informed consent forms that may amount to medical disinformation.

Section giving the Board of Medicine authority to expand on informed consent requirements.

These provisions taken together spell out requirements for providers of gender affirming care that will drastically lower its availability to transgender adults. SPEKTRUM has confirmed that at least 80% of all gender affirming care is provided by nurse practitioners in the state. This matches with data from my informed consent hormone therapy map – very few of the locations go to MDs/DOs. Planned Parenthood, which provides a huge amount of the care, primarily uses nurse practitioners to administer that care – all of my personal care has been handled by nurse practitioners, as seen from Planned Parenthood’s FAQ on gender affirming care:

Most gender-affirming hormone care is provided at PPSP by advanced practice providers (physician assistants, certified nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners) in our health centers or over telemedicine.

The alarming aspects of the new legislation are not limited to the provisions that prevent nurse practitioners from providing gender affirming care. The law also targets this care through various other channels. For example, one provision grants the board of medicine authority to adopt emergency rules for implementing the new law. The board has already demonstrated its willingness to overstep existing law by introducing rules – earlier this year, it imposed a ban on gender affirming care for transgender youth, despite lacking legislative instruction to do so. This ban is currently under judicial review.

In a similar vein, the attorney general of Missouri recently issued a series of burdensome guidelines that essentially obstruct gender affirming care for most transgender adults with a complex web of rules, making the care nearly impossible to legally provide. This decision, however, has recently been blocked in court for at least two months. The provision in Florida’s law, which grants rule-making authority to the board of medicine, could potentially be wielded in a similar manner to further restrict care.

The legislation also requires misinformation in informed consent forms that must be handed to and signed by every patient. Though the final version of the form is not available, earlier versions have statements erroneously claiming that the care does not conform to generally accepted medical practices. Over 29 major medical organizations maintain gender affirming care as the standard of care for trans people.

See the proposed form from 2022 when the issue was first discussed by the Florida Department of Health here, documented by Zinnia Jones:

Proposed informed consent form for trans adults from 2022.

It remains to be seen how medical organizations and transgender adults will react to the bill if it is signed into law. It is clear that at least some major medical organizations feel that the care is highly threatened, with many being forced to cease providing it. The impact of this legislation could rival and even surpass other states where restrictions are currently being fought over, such as in Missouri where several trans adults were pulled from care before the policy enacted there was blocked. When combined with a recent transgender bathroom ban, Florida is quickly emerging as the state most hostile to transgender people in the United States.


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:


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

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News Analysis

Travel ban to anti-LGBTQ states: Well-intentioned but ineffective

While the travel ban was meant to combat discrimination against the LGBTQ community, it failed to address the root cause of the issue



Los Angeles Blade file photo

By Serena Sonoma | SACRAMENTO – It was in 2016 when California established a travel ban, preventing state-funded travel to states that have passed laws discriminating against LGBTQ individuals. 

The political landscape was a tinderbox of tension and division as Donald Trump emerged victorious in the 2016 presidential election, sparking a firestorm of controversy that would ignite a fierce battle over transgender rights. In 2017, upon taking office, he quickly dismantled protections for transgender students, igniting a spark that would set the nation ablaze.

North Carolina became the epicenter of this explosive conflict, as a controversial bill known as HB2 mandated individuals to use restrooms corresponding to their gender assigned at birth, sending shockwaves of discrimination through the transgender community. The air was thick with the scent of unrest and uncertainty as protests erupted and citizens stood up to fight for their rights and dignity, casting a beacon of hope in the midst of a dark and turbulent time.

As the nation grappled with the complexities of discrimination and the need for deeper systemic change, California’s travel ban served as a symbolic gesture of solidarity with the LGBTQ community. However, the ban’s implementation was fraught with controversy and complications, leaving many wondering if it was the right approach to address the root cause of discrimination.

While the travel ban was meant to combat discrimination against the LGBTQ community, it failed to address the root cause of the issue and created a false sense of progress. More effective measures are needed to create a just and equitable society for all residents.

Even Governor Gavin Newsom, who championed California’s travel ban, faced criticism for taking a family vacation to Montana, a state that is on the travel ban list due to its anti-LGBTQ laws. Newsom argued that the trip was privately funded and did not violate the travel ban, but the controversy raised questions about the effectiveness of such measures. Critics argue that travel bans offer only a surface-level solution to discrimination and may even hinder progress by creating a false sense of accomplishment. 

According to a report by the Human Rights Campaign, there are currently 340 anti-LGBTQ bills being considered at the state level across the country, with 150 of them targeting transgender people, the highest number on record. These bills range from prohibiting transgender students from participating in sports to denying them medical treatment. The LGBTQ community faces significant discrimination, and the travel ban, though well-intentioned, failed to address the root cause of discrimination against the LGBTQ community.

Instead of tackling the underlying societal issues that lead to discrimination, the ban simply punished states that had passed discriminatory laws.

Gay Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Cupertino), who authored the legislation, remains convinced that the state travel ban is an effective policy. ‘We don’t have any intentions of backing down and changing our position on the state-funded travel ban,’ stated Low. ‘Unfortunately, right-wing politicians across the country are working to pass hundreds of laws that are harmful to LGBTQ people, and we’re going to stand firm in our decision.’

Low believes that now is the time to show that California isn’t going backward. ‘In 2016, when we passed this law, we didn’t tolerate discrimination in our state and beyond our borders. Seven years later, we still don’t, and won’t.’

However, the implementation of the ban was flawed. The ban relied on individual state agencies to self-report their travel plans, making it difficult to enforce. In a report by the California State Auditor, several state agencies were found to have violated the ban by traveling to banned states. 

The lack of enforcement and oversight made it clear that the ban was never going to work effectively. Despite this, Low and other supporters of the ban remain committed to the policy and believe that it sends a strong message of solidarity with the LGBTQ community.

Instead of relying on ineffective measures such as travel bans, California needs to take a more proactive approach towards combating discrimination against the LGBTQ community. Examples of these could include: 

  1. Safe Schools Program: We need to make sure our schools are a safe place for everyone, including LGBTQ students. That’s why we should invest in a safe school program that provides training and resources for teachers and administrators, as well as support for LGBTQ students and their families.
  1. Transgender Health Initiative: Transgender folks often face unique challenges when it comes to healthcare. That’s why we should set up a program that provides training and support for healthcare providers, as well as resources for transgender individuals seeking medical care.
  1. LGBTQ Family Acceptance Program: We all know how important family support is, especially for LGBTQ youth. That’s why we need to invest in a program that helps families understand and accept their LGBTQ family members. This could include counseling services and resources for LGBTQ youth seeking support from their families.

Investing in programs like these would be a much more effective way for California to promote acceptance and understanding of the LGBTQ community. By providing targeted support and resources, the state could help to create a more inclusive and accepting environment for LGBTQ individuals in California. Additionally, by passing laws that protect the rights of LGBTQ individuals, the state could help to ensure that all Californians are treated fairly and equally.

In San Francisco, the Board of Supervisors recently voted to lift a ban on contracting with companies in anti-LGBTQ states. The ban had been in place since 2015 and prevented the city from doing business with companies based in states that had passed laws discriminating against the LGBTQ community. However, the ban was difficult to enforce and was not addressing the root cause of discrimination.

In addition, California recently became a refuge for transgender individuals seeking healthcare. The state passed a law that requires health insurance plans to cover transgender healthcare, including gender-affirming surgeries and hormone therapy. This law provides crucial support for transgender individuals who face significant barriers to receiving healthcare.

Last week state Senate leader Toni Atkins announced new legislation that would replace the current ban with an advertising campaign that promotes acceptance and inclusion for the LGBTQ+ community in the states that were previously banned. 

The campaign would be funded by a special fund that would accept private donations and state funding. Overturning the ban might be difficult in the California Legislature, where 10% of lawmakers identify as LGBT. Low supports the advertising campaign but said that alternative action is required to combat discrimination before ending the state-funded travel ban. The ban currently includes 23 states, and it has complicated some of the Democrats’ policy goals in surprising ways. The new legislation will be formally introduced on Thursday and must be vetted by lawmakers in both the state Senate and state Assembly before it can become law, a process that could take several months.

Whether the advertising campaign would have the same impact as the current travel ban is an area of contention. The ban sends a strong message that California will not support states with discriminatory policies, whereas an advertising campaign may not have the same level of impact or be taken as seriously. Additionally, the effectiveness of the campaign may be limited if it is not well-funded or if it is not targeted to the right audiences.

However, by investing in education and outreach programs and passing laws that promote equality, California can create a more just and equitable society for all of its residents. 

In a room of supporters, Senate leader Toni Atkins acknowledged the negative impact the current ban has had. She noted that it has hindered academic research and athletic opportunities for college students, and it has also isolated LGBTQ individuals in states that were previously banned. Furthermore, Atkins believes that the ban has made it difficult for California lawmakers to share their progressive agenda with policymakers across the nation.

As she stated, “We should, as legislators who have put forward the most LGBTQ-friendly, reproductive rights, racial justice bills, we should be in all of those states to be able to share our experience.”

Editor’s note: On Monday, a day after publication of the above piece, the Office of Assemblymember Evan Low responded with the following statement:

“Asm. Low’s statement included in this story no longer reflects his position on the issue. His office said he understands the need for the travel ban to be changed due to it no longer being effective and is working on an alternative proposal.

Low said when the travel ban was introduced, it was effective and put economic pressure on states which caused outside state legislators to pull discriminatory bills. Low’s office also noted that he is working with Sen. Atkins on the repeal effort but has not decided whether he will support her proposed legislation as it stands.”


NBC Bay Area – California May End Travel Ban to States With Anti-LGBTQ Laws


Serena Sonoma is a transgender writer who focuses on intersectional feminism from an LGBTQ+ lens. Her work has appeared in Vox, Out, Teen Vogue, The Advocate, Harper’s Bazaar, and various other national and local newspapers. 

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News Analysis

Maddow calls out U.S. hate group over Uganda anti-LGBTQ+ law

U.S. religious activists stoke anti-gay sentiment in Africa and how a new, extreme law in Uganda will affect the lives of gay Ugandans



Frank Mugisha, a Ugandan LGBT advocate and Executive Director of Sexual Minorities Uganda. (Screenshot/YouTube MSNBC)

NEW YORK – Frank Mugisha, executive director of Sexual Minorities Uganda, talks with Rachel Maddow about how U.S. religious activists help stoke anti-gay sentiment in Africa and how a new, extreme law in Uganda will affect the lives of gay Ugandans. 

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News Analysis

Texas may be the next state to end most adult Trans care

A bill targeting most transition care was advanced by the Texas Senate. This could make it virtually impossible to get gender affirming care



Landon Richie from Transgender Education Network of Texas speaks to a rally at the state capitol earlier this month. (Photo Credit: Equality Texas)

By Erin Reed | WASHINGTON – In a startling move yesterday, the Texas Senate passed one of the most extreme pieces of legislation aimed at gender-affirming care. While the majority of American bills targeting transgender care have focused on youth, the Texas law takes it a step further, potentially stripping essential care from countless transgender adults.

Instead of implementing a direct ban on care like other bills, this legislation insidiously imposes a prohibitively onerous financial disincentive, which could effectively leave physicians unable to provide the necessary treatment.

This alarming development marks a significant escalation in anti-trans legislation, as it now targets adults and mirrors a concerning trend recently observed in several other states.

Senate Bill 1029 outlines a series of constraints designed to render gender-affirming care virtually impossible to provide. One such constraint stipulates that health insurance companies covering gender-affirming care would face increased liability to transgender patients.

Another limitation bars the use of “public money” for gender-affirming care – a vague restriction that could result in entire hospital systems, which receive any public funding, being unable to offer this care.

Most alarming, however, is a provision granting doctors lifetime liability for providing gender-affirming care, even in the absence of malpractice. This provision would mean that doctors would not be able to maintain malpractice insurance that covers their practice and thus would be unable to provide care.

Collectively, these restrictions bear a striking resemblance to TRAP Laws (Targeted Restrictions on Abortion Providers), which are often employed to obstruct abortion care within a state.

You can see the doctor liability provisions here:

Doctor liability with no malpractice for gender affirming care.

Taken together, these provisions could effectively bring an end to the majority of gender-affirming care in the state. With a doctors being unable to utilize malpractice insurance and the prohibition of public funds and Medicaid coverage for care, access to treatment may become increasingly limited.

The increased risk to private health insurance providers serves as a means of discouraging coverage, while targeting doctors who provide the care further exacerbates the situation. As a result, both transgender adults and providers may encounter insurmountable barriers to accessing necessary treatment.

Should it pass, Texas would become the second state to implement such extreme measures against adult care, following Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey’s order, which essentially prohibits gender-affirming care for most transgender adults in the state.

Local activists and organizations agree. In an interview with the Texas Tribune, Christopher Hamilton of Texas Health Action stated, “It really is just an attempt to chill health care for all trans people.”

Texas is the latest state to target gender-affirming care for transgender adults, but we have witnessed similar actions in other states as well. Missouri recently imposed a series of stringent restrictions on gender-affirming care.

In a baffling Catch-22, Missouri’s new guidelines necessitate resolving issues like depression and anxiety before initiating gender-affirming care while simultaneously demanding severe dysphoria to qualify for the treatment. Since severe dysphoria often causes anxiety and depression, successfully addressing these mental health concerns might result in dysphoria no longer being classified as “severe,” thereby prohibiting treatment.

Conversely, if a doctor cannot alleviate the depression and anxiety, the treatment would still be banned due to “unresolved mental health issues.” Ultimately, this leads to a de facto ban on all transgender care. The Missouri policy is being heard in court in hopes of obtaining a temporary restraining order blocking it from taking effect.

Gender affirming care is proven to save lives. It reduces anxiety and depression, helps give transgender people congruence with their own bodies, and aids in existing as a member of their gender identity in public.

One recent study showed a 73% lower suicide rate for people allowed to medically transition, and similar drops in depression and anxiety. Another showed a 40% reduction in attempts over the last year. There are many more studies that have been done on this care – The Center for the Study of Inequality at Cornell University compiled 51 such studies showing the medical and psychological benefits of transitioning for trans people.

In recent years, we have seen an increased targeting of adult gender affirming care by major figures and organizations in the anti-trans movement. Genspect and Transgender Trend, well funded and active organizations campaigning on behalf of anti-trans laws, have lobbied to increase healthcare bans up to age 25. 

Michael Knowles and Matt Walsh have recently gotten fully behind transgender “eradication,” with Matt Walsh recently stating that gender affirming care should be available to nobody. This is significant given Walsh’s hand in drafting and supporting anti-trans bills.

As legislative sessions continue across the nation, we can expect more of these bills and policies to emerge. Heading into 2024, this issue is likely to become more nationalized as presidential candidates and far-right Republicans attempt to exploit the fear campaign they have instigated against gender-affirming care.

Fortunately, there is a glimmer of hope for the transgender community, as anti-trans legislation and candidates who champion these platforms often lack widespread popularity during elections. The outcome of the 2024 election cycle could prove crucial in safeguarding transgender rights for the foreseeable future.


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:


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

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