Proponents say Montana Bill would erase trans and non-binary identities

Republicans in Montana are pushing legislation that proponents say will make the legal existence of trans, nonbinary, two spirit And intersex people in the state by codifying the definition of gender to be based on a person’s reproductive system.

The 61-page bill, SB458is part of a Stream of anti-LGBTQ laws that Republicans want to implement nationwide. According to experts, the bill would, among many other legal implications, exclude transgender, non-binary and binary people from anti-discrimination policies and ban same-sex marriages. (Same-sex marriage is currently protected by federal law.)

“I think this bill is trying to solve a problem that doesn’t really exist and in doing so they’re using a really flawed understanding of biology to try to change the code in a way that I don’t think they can.” do. fully thought out,” said Dr. Lauren Wilson of HuffPost’s American Academy of Pediatrics.

Introduced in late February by Montana State Senator Carl Glimm and takes place through an initial vote In the State Senate, the bill would define sex as “the organization of the body and gametes for reproduction in humans and other organisms” and states that among humans “there are exactly two sexes, male and female, with two corresponding gametes.”

To be considered female, a person would have to “produce a relatively large, relatively immobile gamete or egg during their life cycle” and “have a reproductive and endocrine system geared towards the production of these gametes,” the bill states. For males, a person would need to produce “small, motile gametes, or sperm, throughout their life cycle” and “have a reproductive and endocrine system geared towards the production of these gametes.”

After some discussion, the bill came changed to include some exceptions for intersex people who are born with an anatomy or chromosomes that do not fit into a male or female binary. However, the law forces these individuals to conform to either male or female gender and ignores years of biological research recognizing the existence of Dozens of variations in the intersex spectrum.

Wilson added that some intersex people do not easily or neatly fit within the bill’s definitions of male or female.

“Some intersex people self-identify as a third category,” Wilson said. “If the definitions really focus on people’s reproductive capacity, it means there are certain people who just can’t ever be categorized that way. And this bill doesn’t seem to give them any legal status,” she added.

This misdefinition of sex is having a massive impact on everyone in the state of Montana.Shawn Reagor, Montana Human Rights Network

Experts say the bill would make it nearly impossible for people who don’t fall within the bill’s strict gender categories to live in Montana without dressing improperly, coming out, or facing everyday roadblocks.

“This misdefinition of gender is having a massive impact on everyone in the state of Montana,” Shawn Reagor, equality director for the Montana Human Rights Network, told HuffPost. “The bill itself is 61 pages long and touches on over 41 pieces of code and inserts these inaccurate and frankly disturbing definitions of sex that take us back hundreds of years of understanding biology and completely obliterate intersex people and attempt to miscategorize trans people.”

Kyndra Nevin, a volunteer at the Montana Gender Alliance, told HuffPost that the bill is probably the “worst” thing they’ve seen in a nationwide anti-trans legislative effort.

“It seems like the point is the cruelty, and as hard as they can make it for trans people to exist in that state, the better as far as they’re concerned. Basically, it just seems like a campaign to evict trans people from public life in Montana and maybe out of the state altogether,” Nevin said. “Because this law is so bad that it’s making it harder for all of us to navigate public life, starting with looking for a job, trying to get into school and stuff like that. They essentially erase us from existence as defined as a person in Montana.

Montana lawmakers have passed more tough anti-LGBTQ laws. like SB 99, a bill aimed at limiting gender-affirming childcare that is currently awaiting a vote in the state house. Incidentally, it has also made an effort HB359to ban minors from participating in drag shows. The House of Representatives approved it on February 24 and the bill is currently in the Senate.

According to the physical activity promotion projectapproximately 30,000 people in the state ages 13 and older identified as LGBTQ as of 2020. But Montana Republicans’ over-the-top obsession with implementing policies to suppress LGBTQ expressions and identities in their culture war persists.

“I think it’s really important for people to know that there are people fighting for them and that we will do everything we can to prevent these laws from being implemented. ‘ Reagor told the HuffPost. “And whether it’s in Montana or Louisiana, trans people belong in this country. We have been here for thousands of years and we will continue to exist.”

Glimm, the author of the bill, did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.


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