How the Alliance Network Fights for Trans Youth

Friday, March 31st is International Transgender Day of Visibility, a day dedicated to celebrating transgender people while also examining the discrimination that trans folks face daily. This year especially, we have seen an influx in anti-trans and anti-LGBTQ bills brought to legislature nationwide. As more of these hateful bills arise, the Alliance Network continues to fight against the attacks on trans youth and their freedoms.

While we know it can be tiring facing off against hate, young people continue to show determination and resilience. To honor the contributions of trans people, and the youth organizers opposing these bills face-to-face with legislators determined to prohibit the rights and freedoms of the trans community, we want to show some extra love to the Alliance Network orgs doing this work in their state legislative sessions this year. 

Trans Advocacy in the Alliance Network

Youth organizers at Minnesota Youth Collective (MNYC) are working to pass HF146 and SF63—otherwise known as the Trans Refuge Bills. These bills would protect trans people and their families from legal repercussions of traveling to Minnesota for gender-affirming care, effectively making Minnesota a refuge state for trans people! 

HF146 and SF63 not only protect those coming to Minnesota, but they will make gender-affirming healthcare accessible and equitable. 

MNYC organizers are working to show that young people in their state want Minnesota to be a place of healing, and a place where anyone can be themselves, safely and authentically. MNYC is submitting a letter of support along with over 1500 petition signatures to the Chief Author in the Minnesota Senate to help shape the conversation and demonstrate the power of Minnesota youth.

Meanwhile, Montana is facing a heavy slate of anti-trans and anti-LGBTQ+ bills this legislative session. Here are just a few of the discriminatory bills Forward Montana organizers are actively opposing:

SB 99– a bill that would prohibit gender-affirming medical care for minors and prevent public employees from supporting a minor’s social transition. 

HB 359–Representative Braxton Mitchell’s bill to ban minors from attending drag shows. 

HB 361, a bill that would allow students to misgender and dead-name other students with no disciplinary repercussions.

In early February, Izzy Milch, Forward Montana’s Senior Advocacy Manager, live-tweeted the hearing for HB 359 which included testimony from Chloe, one of Forward Montana’s organizers!

Back in January Forward Montana gathered volunteers who made over 300 calls and sent nearly 1,000 texts urging Montanans to voice their opposition to this bill and other anti-trans legislation.

You can find a full breakdown of updates on queer & trans rights in the Montana legislative session on Forward Montana’s blog, “What The Helena”.

This month, New Hampshire Youth Movement (NHYM) has opposed some of the most harmful bills for trans youth they’ve seen hit the State House this year. 

If passed, HB 10 would allow parents to object to a broad range of LGBTQ+ materials in public schools, and require teachers to immediately notify parents or guardians if their child desires to use new pronouns or a new name in class. 

HB 619 would ban gender-affirming care for minors, ban teaching of gender identity in public schools, and would re-legalize conversion therapy by changing its legal definition.

HB 417– this bill would designate gender affirming care for minors as “abuse” under New Hampshire state law. 

SB 272 would force schools into a surveillance and reporting role–it requires teachers to notify parents or guardians if their child joins a club, sees a counselor, or modifies their gender expression. 

In response to these bills, NHYM and partners gathered over 200 people on Tuesday, March 7th, at the New Hampshire State House to support trans lives while various House and Senate committees heard several anti-trans bills.

Over in the Kansas legislature, Loud Light is opposing a couple of anti-trans bills in addition to a trans sports ban. 

HB 2238, while vetoed by the Kansas Governor, will still go to one last vote to sustain the veto. If passed, this bill will prohibit transgender girls in K-12 schools and colleges from playing sports. In early March, Loud Light organizer Donnavan Dillon testified on his experiences competing with athletes across the gender identity spectrum, opposing the trans sports ban.

HB 2263, another bill Loud Light is actively opposing, would allow individuals who receive gender-affirming health care to sue the physician who provided the care and revoke medical licenses of physicians who provide medically necessary, life-saving care to Kansas youth.

SB 180 – Legally defines “biological sex” in terms related to the ability to procreate, and excludes transgender and intersex individuals from the ability to access sex-segregated spaces such as bathrooms, domestic violence shelters, rape crisis centers and more.

Loud Light organizers are continuing the fight to allow trans youth in Kansas the freedom to be who they are by hosting statewide virtual phone banks to protect trans rights with their community partners. 

Other Alliance Network orgs working on transgender and LGBTQ+ issues in their legislative sessions are Engage Miami and Virginia Student Power Network.

Engage Miami just sent some of their team down to Tallahassee to participate in their Dade Days event which allows young people in Miami-Dade county to meet and bring their needs directly to their state’s decision-makers. This week they attended hearings, spoke with legislators, and worked with partners to fight for equity in education, reproductive rights, gun safety, voting rights, renter protections, and protection of trans and queer youth.

Virginia Student Power Network (VSPN) also did some trans advocacy work before the Virginia legislative session wrapped up in February. VSPN strongly opposed HB1387, which would amend a section of the Code of Virginia that would prevent transgender student athletes in K-12 schools and higher education institutions from participating in team sports based on their gender identity.

If you’re looking for ways to support Alliance Network organizations doing trans advocacy this year, see what Minnesota Youth Collective, Forward Montana, New Hampshire Youth Movement, Loud Light, Engage Miami, and Virginia Student Power Network are up to on social media!