Idaho passes harmful law allowing students to sue schools if they see a trans child in the bathroom

By Charlie Sawyer

Published Mar 30, 2023 at 12:26 PM

Reading time: 3 minutes

States across the US are currently implementing some of the most anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation the nation has ever witnessed. 2023 is officially shaping up to be one of the most restrictive, conservative and anti-progressive years in the past decade.

At an alarmingly fast rate, Republican lawmakers are weaponising political rhetoric and actively ignoring the advice and opinion of medical professionals. Moreover, conservatives are taking advantage of mounting anti-trans public opinion and diverting people’s attention away from the issues that matter.

For example, after authorities revealed that the perpetrator of the shooting on a Nashville Christian school on 27 March identified as a trans male, the hashtag #Transterrorism began trending on Twitter. Right-wing politicians immediately jumped at the opportunity, placing fault on what they deemed to be mental instability intrinsically linked to the transgender community, rather than address the common denominator in all of these tragic events: guns.

House Representative—and prolific anti-LGBTQIA+ politician—Marjorie Taylor Greene stated: “How much hormones like testosterone and medications for mental illness was the transgender Nashville school shooter taking? Everyone can stop blaming guns now.”

Gender identity has become one of the most divisive topics in the US and while The Violence Project has categorically stated that 98 per cent of mass shooters are male (a vast majority of which being cisgendered), Republican politicians are still finding ways to blame the trans community for events which could’ve been completely avoided had there been appropriate gun laws and reform in place.

Public opinion is moulded and influenced by legislation, and as we continue to witness such vitriol and hate towards the LGBTQIA+ community, it’s important to stay up to date with the most recent action taken to further erode the rights of anyone who refuses to conform to conservative, right-wing standards.

Over the past few weeks, mainstream media has been focusing predominant attention on the anti-drag show bills in Florida. However, we also need to recognise the recent laws passed in Idaho, which are going to completely destroy the trans community’s visibility and human rights, as well as demolish their access to health care.

Cisgendered students could sue for “emotional damage” if they see a trans child in the toilet

On 23 March, Idaho Governor Brad Little signed a Senate Bill 1100 into law which effectively bans trans youth from using the bathroom that aligns with their gender. According to PinkNews, lawmakers have used an antiquated definition of “biological” sex as its justification. The new bill allows students to take legal action against public schools that allow trans students to use facilities aligned with their gender.

Schools found in breach of the law could be forced to pay up to $5,000 in damages to plaintiffs for each person “of the opposite sex” found in the facility.

A 2018 report from the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law empirically proved that allowing transgender people to use the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity does not in any way increase safety risks. While conservatives persistently argue that allowing transgender people to choose the bathroom they use puts women and children in danger, this rhetoric has never been accurately backed up with substantial evidentiary data—it’s simply a political football.

Governor Little also signed a bill into law in March 2022 modelled after the highly controversial Texan “fetal heartbeat” bill, which bans abortions after about six weeks, making Idaho the first state to follow the controversial statute which allows private citizens to enforce the restrictions with lawsuits.

Gender-affirming care for trans youth will now be criminalised

The Idaho Senate has also moved to pass a bill which will criminalise gender-affirming care for trans youth. On 27 March, the Idaho Senate voted 22-12 to pass an amended version of House Bill 71 with all seven Democrats and five Republicans voting against it, as reported by the Idaho Capital Sun.

Coined the “Vulnerable Child Protective Act” by its sponsors, the bill would ban puberty blockers, hormones and surgeries. It would also make it a felony for any medical practitioner to help a minor seek gender-affirming treatment.

Democrat and Senator Melissa Wintrow, told the publication that House Bill 71 is the “hardest bill” she has seen on the Senate floor. If passed, the politician said that the bill would harm the mental health of transgender youth.

Wintrow also noted that she has spoken with several physicians in the state and who’ve explained that the legislation would result in them having to move elsewhere, out of fear of helping their patients.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is currently tracking 435 anti-LGBTQIA+ bills in the US.

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