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Arizona lawmaker proposes two anti-Trans bills for 2022

The laws would have potential to inflict considerable harm on Transgender Arizonans and the medical professionals who treat them

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FLAGSTAFF, Az. – Two proposed laws would have potential to inflict considerable harm on young Transgender Arizonans and the medical professionals who treat them LGBTQ+ activists say.

The author of both proposed measures is Republican state Senator Wendy Rogers (R-SD6), an outspoken supporter of Donald Trump and a member of the Oath Keepers, an anti-government militia organization whose members took part in the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol. This past Fall in October 2021, Rogers spoke at a QAnon-linked political conference in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Rogers first measure, Senate Bill 1045 would prohibit medical procedures that affirm the gender identity of children and teens who are transgender. The law would ban medical professionals in Arizona from performing gender affirming surgeries on Trans minors and also would forbid prescribing testosterone to Trans male youth or estrogen to Trans female youth who are under 18. Any Health professional found guilty would be convicted as a Class 4 felony offender, with a prison sentence of one to three years.

Her second measure, Senate Bill 1046 would restrict transgender children from participating in sports at public and private schools, community colleges and universities. The measure would divide all interscholastic and intramural sports teams into male, female and co-ed teams “based on biological sex.”

Under that definition, the measure prohibits transgender girls from participating in girl’s sports. It would also mandate a medical review of a student’s anatomy, hormone levels and genetics if the student’s biological sex is disputed while seeking to participate in sports programs at public and private schools, community colleges and state universities.

State Representative Daniel Hernandez, (D-HD2), a member of the Arizona Legislative LGBTQ Caucus told the Blade Wednesday, “State Senator Rogers is using her power to target the most vulnerable children in our communities. The discriminatory and unjust efforts to stop transgender youth from receiving medical care shows Senator Rogers is trying to get in between patients, their doctors and their families. She once again is trying to ban our children from participating in school sports based on nothing more than hate. It pains me to see another attack made on the transgender community.”

Speaking to the Arizona Mirror, a local Arizona media outlet, Ryan Starzyk, a board member of Phoenix Pride noted; “It is dangerous and it is deadly because if (children) don’t have the foundational information, if they have nobody they can turn and oftentimes is the only one they can turn to is the professional at school before, (the legislature) is laying the foundation for students suicides.”

The Arizona Interscholastic Association has policies and guidelines in place that govern Trans youth participation in sports across the state: “All students should have the opportunity to participate in Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) activities in a manner that is consistent with their gender identity, irrespective of the sex listed on a student’s eligibility for participation in interscholastic athletics or in a gender that does not match the sex at birth.

Rogers has a history of anti-LGBTQ+ animus. In October she expressed her extreme displeasure over a new comic book storyline debuted by DC Comics-Warner Brothers Media on National Coming Out Day.

“Superman loves Louis Lane. Period. Hollywood is trying to make Superman gay and he is not. Just rename the new version Thooperman so we can all know the difference and avoid seeing it,” Rogers tweeted.

Commenters on social media were quick to point out that in the DC Multiverse canon it is ‘Lois Lane not Louis while others took umbrage with her use of the word ‘Thooperman,’ labeling it an offensive phonetic characterization of a stereotyped gay man’s lisping in speech patterns.

Starzyk is opposed to SB1046. He said it reminds him of the bullying he constantly faced in the military for being gay.

“The legislators are bullying our youth, the same way I was bullied in the military,” he said. “It’s heartbreaking to see that instead of encouraging our young people who are finding themselves sooner, the legislature is classifying our young future generation as not being good enough.”

Starzyk told the Arizona Mirror that youth should be celebrated for affirming their gender identity, instead of being deprived of an important opportunity for growth that sports provide.

“We should be embracing that as a society, to know who you are at such a young age,” Starzyk said. “Years ago you couldn’t even be yourself.” He added that Rogers has “some radical view of the gay community.”

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Arizona

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signs three laws limiting transgender rights, abortion

“Today alone, on the eve of Transgender Day of Visibility, three anti-trans bills were signed into law across the country”

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Arizona’s Republican Governor Doug Ducey signed Senate Bill 1138, which bans some types of medical care for transgender youth, and Senate Bill 1165, which prevents transgender students from participating in school sports consistent with their gender identity.

The governor also signed abortion legislation that mirrors a Mississippi law currently being considered by the U.S. Supreme Court that will  will outlaw abortion after 15 weeks.

“Across the country, moderate Republicans are struggling—and too often failing—to stop the takeover of their party by dangerous extremists. Today’s trio of extreme AZ laws, one stripping away the right to abortion and two targeting transgender youth, show that Arizona is losing that battle.  We are in danger of watching large segments of our nation give way to authoritarian extremism,” Shannon Minter, the Legal Director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, (NCLR) told the Blade in a phone call Wednesday.

The Arizona abortion legislation mirrors a Mississippi law now being considered by the nation’s high court. The bill explicitly says it does not overrule a state law in place for more than 100 years that would ban abortion outright if the Supreme Court overrules Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case that enshrined the right to abortion in law, NBC News reported.

“In Arizona, we know there is immeasurable value in every life — including preborn life,” Ducey said in a signing letter. “I believe it is each state’s responsibility to protect them.”

Ducey is an abortion opponent who has signed every piece of anti-abortion legislation that has reached his desk since he took office in 2015. He said late last year that he hoped the Supreme Court overturns the Roe decision, the Associated Press noted.

In 2014, then-Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed an anti-LGBTQ+ bill in Arizona because she said it divided the state, did not address any specific or present concern for Arizonans, and would lead to adverse legal and economic consequences for the state. She also called for “greater respect and understanding among ALL Arizonans.”

Two Republican governors, Utah Gov. Spencer Cox and Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, vetoed anti-trans sports bans similar to SB 1165 last week, rejecting the discriminatory bills approved by their legislatures. The governors cited high suicide rates among transgender youth and concerns over legal challenges, which have followed similar laws in other states.

Also on Wednesday Oklahoma Republican Governor Kevin Stitt signed into law Senate Bill 2, a bill which would restrict transgender girls from playing on school sports teams that match their gender identity.

“While the problems transgender and nonbinary youth cause communities are hypothetical, the harms these laws will cause them are very real. We’re talking about a group of marginalized young people who have consistently been found to be at greater risk for bullying, depression, and attempting suicide — and 85% say recent debates around anti-trans laws have even further negatively impacted their mental health,” said Sam Ames, Director of Advocacy & Government Affairs. “Today alone, on the eve of Transgender Day of Visibility, three anti-trans bills were signed into law across the country. This onslaught is not an accident; it is overwhelming by design and in direct response to progress in the fight for trans rights. But the Trevor Project will continue supporting our young people while we continue the fight against these policies. We are here for you, and we are not going anywhere.”

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Arizona

Arizona Republican breaks from party to block anti-trans bill

SB 1138 sought to ban gender-affirming care for LGBTQ youth.

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Arizona state Sen.Tyler Pace (Photo Credit: Office of Senator Tyler Pace)

A bill aiming to ban gender-affirming care for LGBTQ youth in Arizona is effectively dead after Republican state Sen. Tyler Pace broke from his party last week and voted against the legislation. 

The rare and unexpected move came last Wednesday with Pace joining three Democratic colleagues on the Arizona Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee, splitting the vote 4-4 and effectively stalling the bill. 

Though Pace saw “both sides,” he attributed his vote to the testimony of LGBTQ youth and their parents against the anti-transgender youth health care bill. 

“The testimonies we heard today about the many people who are using these avenues of medical treatments to save lives, to improve lives,” he said during the committee hearing, “I don’t want my vote to stop those great things.”

At the hearing, trans youth and their families stood in front of the committee to testify against the anti-trans bill. 

“Kids like me should be able to be who they are without lawmakers attacking their rights,” said Samuel Cars, who identifies as trans and bisexual. “I ask you when you vote on this bill to think about me and this question: What side of history do you want to be on? Because the only way to be on the right side is vote no on this bill.”

Other people who spoke to the committee noted how the bill could increase suicide rates for trans youth in the state. Late last year, LGBTQ youth suicide prevention group the Trevor Project found a strong link between gender-affirming therapy and lower rates of suicide and depression in trans youth. 

The legislation – Senate Bill 1138, which sought to ban gender-affirming care to trans and nonbinary youth, including reversible puberty blockers, hormone therapy and surgeries – was one of Arizona’s 15 anti-LGBTQ bills introduced so far this year, the most of any state, according to NBC News

Pro-LGBTQ activists and lawmakers grew so concerned over the legislative landscape that they hosted a press conference last month, sounding alarm bells over the anti-LGBTQ bills. 

“This is an attack on human rights,” said Arizona state Rep. César Chávez, chair of the Arizona LGBTQ Legislative Caucus, at the press conference hosted by the Human Rights Campaign. “We’re criminalizing individuals for being who they are. On top of that, we’re criminalizing doctors and health care workers, individuals that are doing their job.”

The Arizona state Senate passed an anti-trans sports bill at the beginning of February that would restrict trans women and girls from playing on school sports teams that match their gender identity. Pace voted in favor of the legislation. 

Last year, Arkansas and Tennessee passed similar gender-affirming care bans, making them the only two states in the country to do so. However, a federal judge blocked the Arkansas ban last summer, according to LGBTQ research nonprofit the Movement Advancement Project (MAP). 

MAP also notes that Tennessee’s law prohibits medical providers from providing hormone-related medication to “prepubertal minors.”

“Best practice medical care for transgender youth only includes such medication once a youth has entered puberty, not prior to it, and this further illustrates how these legislative efforts reflect a fundamental lack of understanding of medical care for transgender youth,” it added. “However, this legislation sets a dangerous precedent for further restrictions of medical care for transgender youth.”

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Arizona

Arizona lawmakers introduce LGBTQ+ anti-discrimination bill

While the measure has backers in the state’s business and faith communities it faces opposition from the anti-LGBTQ+ Center for Arizona Policy

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Arizona State Capitol Building (Photo Credit: Office of the Arizona Secretary of State)

PHOENIX – Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers, (R-Maricopa), flanked by a group of bipartisan lawmakers announced Monday afternoon they were introducing legislation that would for the first time protect LGBTQ+ Arizonans from discrimination by businesses, landlords and employers based on a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

In addition to the provisions to protect LGBTQ+ people from discrimination, the measure calls for a ban on the practise of conversion therapy by licensed health care professionals. 

While the measure has backers in the state’s business and faith communities it already faces opposition from the conservative anti-LGBTQ+ Center for Arizona Policy, (CAP) .

In 2014 the Center was defined by one journalist writing for the independent news outlet Phoenix New Times as; “In fact, the Center for Arizona Policy is a throwback to Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority. It’s a juggernaut of theocracy, intent on imposing its beliefs on public policy and making Republican politicians in Arizona march in lockstep with CAP’s war on gays, women, pornography, and public education.”

Cathi Herrod, president of CAP told NBC News affiliate KPNX 12 news that the measure would “treat reasonable disagreement as if it were discrimination.”

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