MT Coalition Stands Up Against Anti-Trans Bills
Monday, April 17, 2023
As the Montana Legislature considers bills that target transgender people, a coalition of groups in the state wants impacted folks to know they stand with them.
Lawmakers have already passed legislation that bans gender affirming care for youth, arguing its meant to protect children.
Shawn Reagor, director of equality for the Montana Human Rights Network, said a coalition known as Free and Fair Montana is pushing back against the "slate of hate" in Helena.
"There is a really strong and robust coalition of individuals and organizations fighting these bills," said Reagor, "and we're not going to stop fighting until we win."
Last week, drag queens hosted a show at the Capitol to protest anti-trans legislation.
They attended a hearing for Senate Bill 458 - which would insert a rigid definition of "sex" into state code that could effectively eliminate legal recognition of transgender, nonbinary and Two Spirit people.
The bill would define sex based on a person's reproductive characteristics.
Sponsor and state Sen. Carl Glimm - R-Kila - said it's necessary to clarify the difference between sex and gender.
But Reagor said it's one of the most disturbing bills he's seen because it could erase legal protections for trans people.
"With all of these bills in the slate of hate, really what we see is that it is targeted at the trans community, especially trans youth," said Reagor, "but it will have so much wider reaching impacts and will really, really hurt the state as a whole."
Reagor said the bill could have impacts on anti-discrimination protections for women and other people, and adds it could put $7.5 billion in federal funding at risk - according to a fiscal note attached to the legislation.
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