Mar 31, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Jayapal pushes to "enshrine" federal protections for trans kids

Pramila Jayapal
Rep. Pramila Jayapal. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) in a Teen Vogue op-ed out Thursday urged lawmakers to pass federal protections for transgender children, writing that such measures "cannot wait any longer."

Why it matters: March 31 marks Transgender Day of Visibility. It comes this year as Republican-led states across the nation continue to introduce and pass legislation targeting transgender youth.

  • Jayapal, the mother of a trans child, noted that "transgender youth are some of the most vulnerable children in our country today, experiencing higher rates of bullying and harassment, physical and sexual violence, depressed academic performance, and an epidemic of mental distress and suicidality."

The big picture: Over two-thirds of LGBTQ youth said recent debates over state laws that target transgender people have negatively impacted their mental health, a January poll by the Trevor Project indicates.

The big picture: Among the measures are Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's order that has parents investigated for seeking gender-affirming care for their children and a proposal in Idaho to make it a felony to help kids seek gender-affirming care.

  • Those proposals are "fueled by a cocktail of ignorance, transphobia, and malice for trans kids, their parents, and the doctors and the communities who want to help them," Jayapal wrote.
  • "These attacks on our children are precisely why we cannot wait any longer to enshrine protections for trans kids into federal law," she added.

Worth noting: Jayapal said she and co-chairs on the House's Transgender Equality Task Force plan to reintroduce a resolution recognizing Transgender Day of Visibility.

  • She also urged the Senate to pass the Equality Act — passed by the House more than a year ago — which she called "our best chance for achieving full protection for LGBTQ+ Americans."

What she's saying: "Like hundreds of thousands of parents with transgender kids across the country, I want to do everything I can to support my daughter as she strives to embrace who she is and live as her most authentic self," Jayapal wrote.

  • "To transgender kids everywhere, I want you to know that we see you, we will stand with you, and we will fight for you."
  • "The suffering of transgender children is not inevitable. It is our job — as leaders, as parents, as legislators — to push back on the attacks and to move us forward again toward true equality and justice."

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