Select states’ new “detransition” bills cause widespread controversy

by Delaney Browne, Reporter

The word detransition means to halt or reverse a transition process that has already begun or happened in the past. In the case of many detransition bills across the U.S., the word means to change someone back to their biological gender. 

Recent bills passed in parts of the U.S. upset many citizens, especially those who are a part of the trans & LGBTQ+ communities and their allies.

Many of these new bills created to restrain the transgender community center around healthcare. Laws such as Tennessee’s “Youth Health Protection Act” are made to stop the practice of gender-affirming surgeries on minors.

A common theme between these laws is that they do not affect someone over the age of 18 who identifies as transgender; they only impact minors. 

If someone were to perform such surgeries on a minor in other states, the consequences will vary, but in Tennessee, the practitioner’s license can be revoked. These doctors will have to pay a $1000 fine for each occurrence and other “appropriate disciplines by the medical professional’s licensing authority.”

Other controversial laws targeting the LGBTQ+ community such as the “Adult-Oriented Performances Bill” are not directed at minors but adults. The law means that any dance or performance deemed “sexual” not be allowed in public or to be performed in front of minors.

Many people have strong opinions on these laws.

“Drag queens/kings shouldn’t be going to schools and working, hence the 18 and older policy on their bars,” freshman trans-male student Levi Spelman said. “That should also apply outside of the bar.”

Although the bill does apply to many different forms of adult performances, such as strippers and exotic dancers, this bill was more specifically an amendment to the law equating drag queens with these groups of people.

In order to perform the sort of entertainment outlined in the bill, dancers must be in a place specified for the performance such as a nightclub.

Spelman agrees with the stated purpose of the law.

“I’m not saying that they [drag queens] can’t dress up in public, but I don’t think they should be performing in an area that may have minors,” Spelman said. 

On the contrary, some believe the idea of drag queen’s in the bill is misleading and only applies to a select group of people.

“It seems that a lot of more conservative beliefs are hasty to say that performances by drag queens are inherently sexual and inappropriate for children, but this isn’t the case,” Urbana High School freshman Cassie Koh said. “Most drag performances are not sexual in any way and are perfectly fine for children to see.”

Other controversial laws being lumped in to this group of bills involve a focus on students playing on high school and college sports teams. 

Many people believe that it is unfair for a transgender female to participate in female divisions of various sports due to their biological body build. 

“I respect the fact that they [transgender people] decide to change themselves, but personally I think it gives them an unfair advantage in sports,” said Maylie Houser, a freshman at Linganore. “For example, I was in multiple races with a transgender [female] and they have a natural advantage above me because that’s how they were born.”

I think there should be a category for anyone who wants to compete which includes transgender people and girls and guys so they can still compete and not feel isolated or different

— Maylie Houser

This controversy over trans people participating on sports teams that do not align with their biological sex has even been seen in some major athletic events. This is the case with trans-female swimmer, Lia Thomas, who raised debate after competing and winning against biological women in the NCAA swimming championship.

Although Thomas did make history by being the first transgender woman to ever win an NCAA swimming championship, the historic event was overshadowed by the fact that by birth, Thomas was biologically male. Many stated the win was unfair, since genetically, Thomas’ physiology would be different from that of biological females.

Consequently, such debates led to a number of states creating laws to force people to play in sports and teams that align with their own biological sexes. This includes HJR 82 of Missouri, which is an amendment to Article IX of the Missouri Constitution, forcing transpeople to 1) play sports alongside their biological sex and 2) share locker rooms, bathrooms, etc. with said people.

Other people believe that transgender people should be allowed to participate with their preferred gender, seeing as they may be uncomfortable being put in such a position with their biological sex.

“When older [like teens and adults] I feel like they should go to the gender they transitioned to,” says ninth grade Urbana student Sophia Kling. “They would almost be fully transitioned, since you can’t get surgery at a younger age.”

On the other end of the situation, states such as Florida have stated they are trying to gradually stop gender transitions all together.  

Florida’s HB 1421 begins a new “gender clinical intervention” which will take effect on July 1. The house bill will make it illegal for a minor to endure hormone therapies, and minors who are currently getting them will have to stop by Dec. 31. The law will be passed in the hopes of gradually stopping said therapies altogether. 

The law also includes penalties for any Florida citizen who tries to take their child out of the state to get these therapies. This may include possibly having their children taken from them by Child Protective Services.