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Stacker took a look at state-by-state data on sexual orientation and gender identity policies that affect transgender youth from the Transgender Law Center. All 50 states and Washington D.C. were then ranked by their total policy “tallies” (the number of laws and policies driving equality for LGBTQ+ people), with #51 being the most restrictive state and #1 being the most protective state of trans youth. Negative tallies mean more discrimination laws exist than protection laws.
TLC’s policy tally accounts only for passed legislation and does not take into account activism efforts, attitudes, and feelings expressed by people in the state, nor implementations of these laws. The core categories TLC considered revolve around relationships and parental recognition, nondiscrimination, religious exemptions, LGBTQ+ youth, health care, criminal justice, and identity documents.
TLC’s findings capture how trans youth remain protected or vulnerable by statutory law, but legislation is elastic and lawmakers introduce new bills constantly. One category of these rankings only capture laws pertaining to sexuality since significant overlap exists within the queer community and within the legislation. Many lesbian, gay, or bisexual individuals also identify as transgender, nonbinary, or gender nonconforming, meaning LGBTQ+ individuals can identify with more than one queer identity.
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Washington by the numbers
– Overall tally: 36.75
– Gender identity policy tally: 20
– Sexual orientation policy tally: 16.75
Since 2020, anti-trans youth legislation claiming to protect children popped up more frequently in state legislatures, entering the more mainstream lexicon in 2021. During the first three months of 2022, lawmakers filed about 240 anti-LGBTQ+ laws—most of which targeted trans people.
Tennessee, the top state for anti-trans youth legislation, in 2017 signed a bill into law preventing trans children from receiving gender-affirming care. It was the fifth anti-trans law to pass in the state. Bills like these claim to protect parents and children, yet lawmakers in Tennessee are also considering a bill that would establish common-law marriages in the state between “one man and one woman” while eliminating age restrictions for marriage.
While anti-trans youth legislation outnumbers legislation to protect trans youth, several states have enacted or are considering laws intended to protect trans children. California has gone so far as to introduce a bill to accept families escaping anti-trans youth legislation. Colorado—formerly known as the “Hate State” for its history of passing anti-LGBTQ+ legislation throughout the ’90s—passed legislation banning conversion therapy, prohibiting bullying based on LGBTQ+ identities, and ending discrimination against LGBTQ+ families adopting children. Hawaii passed legislation in March that would require health insurance companies to pay for gender-affirming care—but not until 2060.
Continue reading to find out which states have the most legislation that restricts or protects trans youth.
States with the most legislation that restricts trans youth
#1. Tennessee: -6 overall
#2. Arkansas: -5.5 overall
#3. South Dakota: -4.5 overall
#4. Alabama: -4 overall
#5. Mississippi: -3.5 overall
States with the most legislation that protects trans youth
#1. Colorado: 39.5 overall
#2. California: 39.25 overall
#3. New York: 39 overall
#4. Nevada: 38 overall
#5. Connecticut: 37.5 overall
The above article originally appeared on Stacker and has been republished with permission. The Auburn Examiner has not independently verified its content.
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