AFJ Holds Press Event On Wave Of Anti-Trans Legislation

Press Release


LGBTQ+ Americans

Press Contact

Zack Ford

A recording of the call is available HERE

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 22, 2021 – Yesterday evening, Alliance for Justice hosted an important conversation about the wave of discriminatory bills targeting transgender children in state legislatures across the United States. So far, 2021 has been the worst year for anti-LGBTQ+ legislation since 2015, and state legislatures are doubling down on anti-transgender legislation and rhetoric demonizing our youth, with more than 110 bills introduced across 33 states since January.  As a result, many transgender children are at risk of being denied life-saving, medically necessary health care, the ability to fully participate in public education, and their right to be treated equally with their peers.  

The discussion featured Alliance for Justice President Rakim Brooks, ACLU Deputy Director for Transgender Justice Chase Strangio, National Center for Transgender Equality Executive Director Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, and Katelyn Burns, Contributing Writer at Vox.  

Rakim Brooks, President of Alliance for Justice, said: “At a moment when communities are facing a devastating health crisis and back-breaking economic challenges, legislators in states like Texas and Arkansas have chosen to strip away people’s rights and target the trans community for cheap political gains. And, it is not just legislators. We have all seen hostile school board meetings where our fellow citizens have displayed outright hostility and contempt towards those simply seeking to express their gender identity. It all has to stop. Alliance for Justice is committed to fighting back against these cruel and inhumane bills. They are directly attacking children’s lives, from their access to health care to their safety to their ability to participate in sports and other activities to the ability to access public space. And we are not going to stand idly by.” 

Chase Strangio, Deputy Director for Transgender Justice at the ACLU, said: “The ACLU is committed to fighting the rising tide of anti-trans discourse and policies with every tool in our arsenal. Make no mistake, we are in a moment of crisis when it comes to attacks on the rights of trans people, particularly trans youth. Lawmakers in state legislatures across the United States are doing everything they can to deny essential, life-saving health care to trans youth, and they are doing so during a once-in-a-century pandemic that has had a devastating impact on communities across the country. Access to health care is a life-or-death issue, and the denial of essential health care to trans youth is no different. We will fight to stop these bills from moving and when they do pass, we will see these states in court.” 

Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, Executive Director of National Center for Transgender Equality, said: “The facts are clear — we’re winning, and our opposition is growing desperate. These attacks are part of a coordinated strategy run by the very same people and groups that fought losing battles against marriage equality, and previously pushed now-defunct anti-trans legislation like North Carolina’s infamous bathroom bill. These groups will try to grab any foothold they can as in response to rising public support for LGBTQ+ rights, and our primary focus must be on defeating these bills so loudly that the opposition will not try anything like this again.” 

Katelyn Burns, Contributing Writer at Vox, said: “Much of the anti-trans playbook that we’re seeing play out across the United States can be traced to either ultra-right-wing lobbying groups in Washington, D.C. or to neo-fascist movements in other countries like Hungary and the United Kingdom where anti-trans hate is fully institutionalized. The most important tool that LGBTQ+ activists and their supporters have in the face of these attacks is our solidarity and the recognition that an attack against some of us is an attack against all of us. We are in a battle for the hearts and minds of the American people, and we cannot allow the ultra-conservative movement to drive wedges between us.”