West Virginian Activists Pack State Senate as Anti-Trans Bill Advances

Researchers estimate that the state of West Virginia has the best proportion of transgender youth within the nation.

On Wednesday, Home Invoice 2007, a invoice that may ban gender-affirming look after transgender youth in West Virginia, handed the state Senate judiciary and superior to the Senate ground.

Transgender advocates anticipate {that a} vote could possibly be held as quickly as tonight within the Republican-controlled Senate, and are packing the West Virginia state capitol to protest the legislative assaults on the state’s LGBTQ group.

“It’s time to point out our lawmakers that the LGBTQ+ group of WV won’t tolerate these assaults on our rights and freedoms,” trans Appalachian organizer Ash Orr, co-founder of the West Virginia Transgender Coalition, said on Twitter. “We’ll proceed to prepare, to look after each other, and to combat the great combat.”

In February, HB 2007 was approved by the West Virginia Home of Delegates in an 84 to 10 vote. The development of the invoice was condemned by the Human Rights Marketing campaign (HRC), the American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia, and Equity West Virginia.

After the passage of HB 2007, a sitting member of the West Virginia Legislature, Republican Delegate Ty Nestor, verbally attacked an investigative reporter who works at ACLU-WV, calling him homophobic slurs over the cellphone. Delegate Nestor was one of 65 representatives who voted for HB 2007.

Advocates for transgender rights pack the West Virginia state capitol in Charleston, West Virginia, on March 9, 2023.

“This regulation is considered one of many harmful efforts far proper political extremists and nationwide anti-LGBTQ+ organizations have launched in West Virginia and throughout the nation in opposition to transgender youth and their households…these bans immediately place the well being, security and wellbeing of transgender youth in West Virginia in danger,” the HRC stated in a press release.

This invoice is considered one of greater than 100 bills throughout the nation which are a part of a concerted far right effort to criminalize transgender folks and limit their entry to lifesaving well being care.

In West Virginia alone, conservative lawmakers are advancing greater than 10 anti-trans payments, together with legal guidelines that may bar minors from attending drag shows and criminalize drag performers if a minor is current, ban Medicaid from covering gender-affirming surgeries for trans kids and adults, and prohibit punishment for teachers who consciously misgender college students.

Advocates for transgender rights pack the West Virginia state capitol in Charleston, West Virginia, on March 9, 2023.

Regardless of Republicans alleging — opposite to the professional opinions of medical experts — that they’re performing in the most effective pursuits of West Virginian youth, the state Senate recently rejected a invoice that may have prohibited baby marriage within the state. West Virginia at present has the highest rate of child marriages within the nation, with over 3,600 marriages occurring since 2000.

“Nothing says ‘I care concerning the well-being of kids’ like *checks notes* killing a invoice to finish baby marriage and passing a invoice to ban entry to lifesaving well being look after trans youngsters,” Renee Alves of the West Virginia Heart on Funds and Coverage wrote in response to the rejected invoice. “My coronary heart hurts for WV kids at this time. Every legislative session feels crueler than the final.”

In 2017, UCLA researchers estimated that West Virginia had the highest percentage of trans youth within the nation. Over 700 children may probably be affected by a state ban on gender-affirming care whether it is handed by the Senate.

“[Gender-affirming care] is medically vital, lifesaving care, and Home Invoice 2007 will kill trans youth,” said Isabella Cortez, gender coverage supervisor with Equity West Virginia.

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