Posted August 22nd, 2023 in News.
On August 16th, 2023, the North Carolina General Assembly passed several pieces of anti-trans legislation. Chief among these are SB49, the “Parents’ Bill of Rights”, HB574, the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act” and HB808, “Gender Transition/Minors”. These bills target the rights of transgender youth, and this post will go over exactly what each of them do, as well as actions you can take.
SB49, the Parent’s Bill of Rights, does many things, but perhaps most worryingly for closeted trans kids, it “[r]equires governing bodies of a public school unit to adopt procedures to notify a parent of … change to the name or pronoun used for the student in school records or by school personnel”, effectively forcing schools to out transgender students. The Bill also states that it “[p]rohibits instruction on gender identity, sexual activity, or sexuality from inclusion in K-4th grade curriculum”, meaning that elementary school teachers would not be allowed to acknowledge the existence of the LGBTQ+ community in their classes. The wording of the Bill, positioning gender identity and sexuality on the same level as “sexual activity” lends itself to the hateful narrative that queer people are trying to groom children. These changes will begin at the start of the 2023-24 school year.
HB574, the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, targets transgender athletes in middle and high schools. The Bill “[r]equires teams to be expressly designated by the biological sex of the team participants as either males/men/boys; female/women/girls; or coed/mixed” and prevents transfeminine students from competing on the women’s team. Notably, the Bill does not place any restrictions on AFAB students to compete on the men’s team, meaning that transmasculine students will still be allowed to participate on the team that aligns with their gender identity. This act went into effect immediately, meaning that any transfeminine students currently competing on their school’s women’s team will be kicked off.
HB808, Gender Transition/Minors, prevents children across the state from beginning gender-affirming medical care (gender confirmation surgery, puberty blockers, or hormone replacement therapy). This Bill does not affect adults and will NOT prevent minors who began gender-affirming care before August 1st, 2023 from continuing existing care. The Bill also provides exemptions for intersex children, meaning that they may still be forced into non-consensual treatment. It also includes provisions for “breast reduction procedures for a female patient causing a physical disorder; … any procedure undertaken because the individual suffers from a physical disorder, physical injury, or physical illness that would, as certified by a physician, place the individual in imminent danger of death or impairment of major bodily function unless surgery is performed; and any procedure … that a treating physician certifies is medically necessary to treat a physiological condition”, meaning that, for the most part, only trans-specific healthcare is being targeted.
Importantly, these changes are retroactive. If a minor began one of the listed actions (surgery, puberty blockers, or HRT) after August 1st, 2023 they will not be able to continue. Medical professionals who provided this care after July 1st, 2023 may also be held liable to civil action if a patient or patient’s parent feels like they’ve been harmed by the care provided. State funding will also be taken away from any healthcare providers who offer gender-affirming care to minors, back dated to August 1st.
So what can you do about it? For one thing, if you or a member of your household is affected by HB808, you’re eligible for a $500 emergency grant from the Campaign for Southern Equality. They have also put together a document full of information about HB808, including a much more thorough breakdown of the Bill’s effects and resources you can turn to if you need medical or emotional support.
If you’ve been directly affected by any of these bills, please reach out to Seraphina through Instagram, @seraph.grace, so she can refer you to legal services through Lambda Legal.
If you’re looking for ways to help: call your representatives! Let them know that these bills are cruel and unacceptable. Specific people to reach out to include:
You can also email your representatives using Equality NC’s tool here.
Make sure that you vote in the upcoming elections as well. New Hanover County will be holding several municipal elections on November 7th, 2023. On November 5th, 2024 the North Carolina gubernatorial election will be held, where Mark Robinson will be up for office. It is imperative for the safety of transgender people that we elect representatives that are dedicated to protecting our rights, and that means showing up and voting!
This is a difficult time for our community, but it’s important to remember that it isn’t hopeless. Hate like this will not stand as long as we band together and fight against it.
*All quoted text is from the Bill Digests, available on the NC Legislation website.