Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), America’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organisation, condemned the decision by the leadership of the Wisconsin Assembly to allow a hearing today on disgraceful anti-transgender legislation that would expose trans and gender nonconforming students to heightened risk of bullying, harassment and discrimination. Not only is the bill–known as AB 469–shameful and horrific public policy, passing it would put the state in conflict with federal law.
An earlier hearing on the bill was scheduled for November 5, but was postponed after a similar school district policy in Illinois was found to violate Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 by the U.S. Department of Education.
“This bill doesn’t belong on the floor of any state legislature–it belongs in the garbage,” said HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow. “All members of the Wisconsin Assembly should be deeply concerned about how AB 469 will place transgender and gender non-conforming students at risk for discrimination and harassment. This reckless and irresponsible bill would put school districts and educators in direct conflict with federal law, creating unnecessary confusion and liability for schools all across Wisconsin. The legislature should abandon this proposal, focusing instead on creating an inclusive learning environment that enables all students to succeed, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
Hundreds of HRC members and supporters in Wisconsin have already responded to an HRC action alert sent this week by asking their lawmakers to oppose AB 469. In addition, HRC President Chad Griffin stood with prominent members of Congress at the launch of the Taskforce for Transgender Equality, and testified at the the first-ever Congressional Forum on Violence Against the Transgender Community.
This year has seen an alarming uptick of anti-transgender state bills across the country. These bills came in several forms, aiming to restrict transgender Americans’ access to public accommodations, school activities, or appropriate medical care. They have been introduced in several states, including Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, Texas, South Dakota, Minnesota, Connecticut, and South Carolina. Fortunately, each of these harmful state bills was defeated in 2015, although such legislation is likely to be reintroduced next year.