Lawyers say Montana bill would erase trans and non-binary identities

Montana Republicans are moving forward with legislation that advocates say would effectively eliminate the legal existence of trans, non-binary, two-spirited And intersex people in the state by codifying the definition of sex to be based on a person’s reproductive system.

The 61-page bill, SB 458is part of a torrent of anti-LGBTQ laws that Republicans seek to implement nationwide. Experts say the bill would exclude trans, non-binary and two-spirit people from anti-discrimination policies and ban same-sex marriage, among many other legal implications. (Same-sex marriage is currently protected by federal law.)

“I think this bill is trying to fix 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 legal code in a way that I don’t think ‘they’ I thought about it,” Dr. Lauren Wilson of the American Academy of Pediatrics told HuffPost.

Introduced in late February by Montana State Senator Carl Glimm and adopted by a first vote in the state Senate, the bill would define sex as “the organization of the body and gametes for reproduction in human beings and other organisms” and states that among human beings, “there are exactly two sexes, male and female, with two corresponding gametes.”

To be considered female, according to the bill, a person would have to produce “a relatively large and relatively immobile gamete or egg during its life cycle” and have “a reproductive and endocrine system oriented around the production of this gamete”. .” For men, a person should produce “small motile gametes, or sperm, during their life cycle” and have “a reproductive and endocrine system geared around the production of that gamete.”

After some debate, the bill was amended to include some exceptions for intersex people, who were born with anatomy or chromosomes that do not correspond to a male or female binary. However, the bill forces these people to align with either male or female sex, ignoring years of biological research that acknowledges the existence of dozens of variations on the intersex spectrum.

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

“Some intersex people identify as a third category,” Wilson said. “The fact that the definitions are really centered on people’s reproductive capacity means that there are some people who just can’t ever be categorized that way. And this bill seems to give them no legal status,” she added.

“This misguided definition of gender has massive implications for 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 fit into the bill’s strict gender categories to live in Montana without making mistakes, getting out, or facing daily obstacles.

“This misguided definition of gender has massive implications for everyone in the state of Montana,” Shawn Reagor, equality director for the Montana Human Rights Network, told HuffPost. “The bill itself is 61 pages and touches over 41 pieces of code and inserts these inaccurate and frankly disturbing definitions of sex which are definitions that take us back hundreds of years of understanding of biology and completely erase the intersex people and try to miscategorize trans people.”

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

“It seems the point is cruelty, and as hard as they can get trans people to exist in that state, the better, as far as they’re concerned. Basically, it appears to be just a campaign to drive trans people out of public life in Montana, and possibly the state altogether,” Nevin said. “Because this bill is so bad it’s going to make it harder for all of us to navigate public life, everywhere, from looking for jobs, trying to get into schools, things like that. They basically erase us from, I guess, existence, as far as the definition of a person in Montana goes.

Montana lawmakers passed other tough anti-LGBTQ laws, like SB 99, a bill to limit gender-affirming care for minors that is currently awaiting a vote in the State House. There has also been an effort, through HB 359, to prohibit minors from attending drag shows. The House approved it on February 24, and the bill is currently sitting in the Senate.

According to Movement Advancement Projectan estimated 30,000 people in the state 13 and older identify as LGBTQ in 2020. But Montana Republicans’ outsized obsession with implementing policies to muzzle LGBTQ expression and identities in its culture war persists .

“I think it’s really important for people to know, especially members of the trans, non-binary, and two-spirit community, that there are people out there who are fighting for them and that we will do whatever we can to help. prevent these bills from being implemented,” Reagor told HuffPost. “And whether they’re in Montana or Louisiana, trans people belong in this country. We’ve 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.

The Huffington Gt

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