There’s a lot of scary stuff happening in United States politics these days, to the point that it’s easy to lose track of it all. There’s a bill in committee right now that is frankly terrifying, and it’s getting very little attention in the press because it targets a minority that’s easy and popular to oppress: transgender people. The bill is HB2796, and here's the official summary:
This bill prohibits the word "sex" or "gender" from being interpreted to mean "gender identity," and requires "man" or "woman" to be interpreted to refer exclusively to a person's genetic sex, for purposes determining the meaning of federal civil rights laws or related federal administrative agency regulations or guidance. No federal civil rights law shall be interpreted to treat gender identity or transgender status as a protected class, unless it expressly designates "gender identity" or "transgender status" as a protected class.
This bill would essentially strip all civil protections from transgender people. It would leave them open to discrimination in terms of healthcare, housing, employment, and literally all aspects of society. Several of my friends are transgender, and they are terrified of this bill passing.
If that’s not enough, the bill makes reference to a person’s “genetic sex” for purposes of determining how the laws of this country are applied. That little phrase could result in mandatory genetic testing of all US citizens. Genetic variations and random mutations mean that not everybody has XX or XY chromosomes — biology is a lot more messy and complicated than that. This article from the scientific journal Nature has more information about intersex conditions. What happens to people whose “genetic sex” is neither male nor female?
HB2796 is currently being debated by the Republican-dominated House Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice. The Democrats have their own website for this subcommittee. These are the representatives on this subcommittee:
- Chairman Steve King (R-IA-04; King is also one of HB2796′s sponsors) - (202) 225-4426
- Vice Chairman Ron DeSantis (R-FL-06) - (202) 225-2706
- Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ-08; Franks is also one of HB2796’s sponsors) - (202) 225-4576
- Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX-01) - (202) 225-3035
- Rep. Karen Handel (R-GA-06) - (202) 225-4501
- Ranking Member Steve Cohen (D-TN-09) - (202) 225-3265
- Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD-08) - (202) 225-5341
- Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY-10) - (202) 225-5635
If you live in the United States, ask your representative to oppose this bill. If your representative is on this subcommittee, it's doubly important that you do so. If you're not sure what to say, here's a simple script:
Hello, my name is
ZIP CODE. I'm calling to ask that
REPRESENTATIVE, as a member of the House Subcommittee of the Constitution and Civil Justice, oppose the bill HB2796. This bill is fundamentally harmful to transgender people. It would allow the rampant discrimination that is already affecting the trans community to grow even stronger. Please do not allow this bill to pass. I plan to take
REPRESENTATIVE's actions on this bill into consideration during the next Congressional election. Thank you.
Politics is scary and stressful, but it's important to make your voice heard.