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Montana House Passes One Anti-Trans Bill, Rejects 2nd on Procedure

Montana House Passes Two Bills Attacking Trans Athletes, Health Care

Even with Biden in office, the fight is not over.

Montana's Republican-led House of Representatives passed two bills this week targeting transgender athletes and medical providers who treat transgender teens, but then reversed course and rejected one of the bills on a final procedural vote. The two bills, House Bill 112 (HB 112) and House Bill 113 (HB 113) were proposed by Representative John Fuller and had initially passed by wide margins. HB 112 would force transgender student athletes to participate in school sports according to their sex assigned at birth, while HB 113, which was rejected in a final vote, would have forbidden doctors from providing much-needed treatment for transgender teens and young adults under the age of 21. Lawmakers in South Dakota, meanwhile, voted down legislation that would have prevented transgender people from changing the sex noted on their official birth certificates.

"Make no mistake: these bills target and attack trans youth and will cause them serious and lasting harm," Caitlin Borgmann, executive director of the ACLU of Montana, said in a statement. "We cannot let fear mongering and lies about what it means to be transgender result in laws that would stigmatize trans youth, harm families and communities, and drive businesses away from Montana."

"On the same day that President Biden has moved our country forward by reversing the transgender military ban, Montana lawmakers are trying to take us a step back," Sam Brinton, vice president of advocacy and government affairs at The Trevor Project, said in a statement. "Implementing these policies would be incredibly harmful to the mental health and well-being of transgender and nonbinary youth in Montana, who deserve to live their lives with dignity and respect."

HB 112, which passed by a vote of 62 to 38, would restrict transgender women and girls to playing on school sports team according to their sex assigned at birth rather than their true gender. HB 113, which was rejected 51 to 49 Tuesday, targets medical providers of trans teens, threatening doctors with possible fines if they "prescribe, provide, or administer gender transition procedures to a minor" or "refer a minor to a health care provider for gender transition procedures." Activists and medical providers had been particularly concerned about the rejected legislation.

"HB113 is based on a basic misunderstanding of transgender youth and the decades of research and medical experience showing that this best-practice medical care is in their best interest," said Brinton, noting the proposed legislation "aims to take choices away from patients and parents by preventing them from accessing gender-affirming health care" and endangering their lives.

Both bills fly in the face of President Biden's recent executive order extending federal civil rights protections to LGBTQ+ people. "Children should be able to learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to the restroom, the locker room, or school sports," the order read. It remains to be seen how the Biden administration responds to the legislation.

Representative John Fuller, the Republican sponsor of both bills, claimed he was only trying to protect children.

"Children live under the guardianship of adults precisely because they lack the maturity, prudence, and experience to make safe responsible decisions for themselves."

While HB 113 is now dead in the water, HB 112 moves on to the Senate for debate and consideration.

Meanwhile, South Dakota lawmakers rejected attempts to block updating gender on birth certificates. Known as H.B. 1076, the bill was introduced by notorious homophobe and Republican Representative Fred Deutsch, who has previously introduced legislation to prevent transgender use of appropriate bathroom and locker room facilities in school.

RELATED | Governor Tells Betsy Devos to 'Butt Out' Over Trans Student-Athletes

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