Today’s transphobia is yesterday’s homophobia.
While homophobia is of course still alive and well, much of the transphobia that is spouted these days is in many ways rehashed arguments against gay and lesbian cisgender people in recent decades.
Being transgender was only removed from the World Health Organization’s classification of mental disorders as recently as 2019, and it wasn’t until 2013 when the American Psychiatric Association appropriately renamed “gender identity disorder” to “gender dysphoria.”
Or we can talk about how cis lesbians in locker rooms was once public discourse for fear they would prey on cis straight women. Sounds a lot like the arguments against trans women in public restrooms.
A recent onslaught of anti-transgender legislation in Georgia and nationwide continues to hide behind the guise of “protecting (cis) women.”
Three bills were proposed in Georgia this session, and though all of them died, it’s a clear sign that our state legislators are actively entertaining transphobia.
HB 276 would have prevented teams from both public and private schools from kindergarten to higher education from competing against public schools that allow trans women on their teams. SB 266 is essentially the senate version of the bill which progressed even farther.
Rep. Phillip Singleton (R-Sharpsburg) spun the reasoning behind the bill as a “women’s issue” rather than anti-trans legislation.
“Things such as heart capacity, blood flow, muscle density and bone mass are different between men and women. … None of these things change just because your identity changes,” Singleton said. “There are benefits of going through male puberty that cannot be erased.”
And ignoring that cis people with natural physical advantages, such as Michael Phelps' arms and Simone Biles' height, can compete without issue, it sounds like Representative Singleton would be more satisfied if trans people could start transition before puberty and avoid those un-erasable changes.
But HB 401, malignantly called the Vulnerable Child Protection Act, would have made it illegal for anyone under 18 to begin transitioning to any capacity, from puberty blockers to hormone replacement therapy, to surgeries of any kind.
However, parents of intersex children could still consent to changing their child’s body.
So if trans people would be unfairly advantaged, but can’t transition before puberty, where can they go?
Nowhere, according to HB 372. Had this bill passed, it would have limited the definition of gender for athletic teams to “a person's biological sex at birth and… based on a person's reproductive organs at birth.”
One could appeal if they wanted to, after sending a letter detailing the nature of the student’s genitals and genetic makeup. Not only is this violating, but how many people really have their “genetic makeup” on hand?
The influx of legislation that seeks to target transgender individuals is a pathetic attempt in trying to protect the “biological” genders.
The truth of the matter is, these bills were created in order to dismount any progress that has been made regarding transgender acceptance and inclusion, and many are unable to accept the fluidity that gender has.
These bills and other proposed or passed legislation spark quite the domino effect that seeks to inhibit more than just inclusion, but also limits access to mental and physical health care, increases violence against trans people and prompts many to debate their rights and existence.
These unreasonable expectations for trans individuals makes it nearly impossible for a trans person to properly live the life they identify with, which is a direct contradiction of the classic American philosophy of equality and the pursuit of happiness.