GLSEN Condemns Idaho Governor for Signing Anti-Transgender HB500

GLSEN calls for repeal to save trans student lives

Today, March 30, Idaho Governor Brad Little signed House Bill 500, the so-called "Fairness in Women's Sports Act," a law which prohibits transgender students from participating in athletic programs within the state’s K-12 schools and colleges. The law will also set forth a policy that would allow other students to dispute their peer’s gender. The denigrating protocol for processing such a dispute includes being forced to undergo a traumatizing and intrusive physical exam.

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In response to this egregious violation of the rights of Idaho’s transgender and gender non-conforming/nonbinary students, GLSEN executive director Eliza Byard issued the following statement: 

“In the dark of night, and at a time when our entire nation is already in crisis, Governor Little decided to discriminate against some of his state’ s most vulnerable students. We know eighty-four percent of transgender students have experienced harassment or assault in their schools and nearly four out of five experience discriminatory school policies and practices. We know that nearly half of transgender students report having seriously considered committing suicide within the past year.  Above all, we know that transgender students need stronger connections to their teachers, classmates and school communities - exactly the kind of connections that school athletics can provide.”

“This law must not stand, because of the danger it poses to transgender students, and the harm it will do to any athlete whose gender is called into question by their peers. Idaho’s H.B. 500 is just one of many iterations of an insidious coordinated national strategy organized by the Alliance Defending Freedom, a far-right legal group determined to undermine the rights and full citizenship of LGBTQ people. That this is all transpiring during an election year is no accident, and the LGBTQ+ community has seen the far-right use this tactic before. But this current attack, in this moment when we all contemplate an uncertain future, is a new low." 

“Public officials must not allow transgender students to be targeted for political gain or in the service of a radical anti-LGBTQ agenda. In this time of national trauma and crisis, we need them to pursue policies that increase connection and community, and support all students.”

Nearly 1,000 GLSEN members have taken action in the past two weeks, urging Idaho Governor Brad Little to veto this bill, one of the worst anti-transgender bills we have seen this legislative cycle. Thank you to every member who showed up for LGBTQ students.

GLSEN works to create safe and inclusive schools for all. We envision a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, and/or gender expression. Each year, GLSEN programs and resources reach millions of students and educators in K-12 schools, via action at the national, state, and local level. Over nearly three decades of work, GLSEN has improved conditions for LGBTQ students across the United States and launched an international movement to address LGBTQ issues in education and promote respect for all in schools. Find more information on GLSEN’s policy advocacy, student leadership initiatives, school-based programs, research, and professional development for educators at www.glsen.org.