Creep of the Week

Creep: Idaho Legislators

The national political and legal landscape for transgender youth in Idaho is… not great!

While it should be absolutely appalling that elected leaders in Idaho (where they have a Republican majority) are focused on hurting a very small and very vulnerable population of kids, it unfortunately doesn’t seem to bother enough people to stop it.

After an emergency appeal by the state’s attorney general, the U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that it was A-OK for Idaho to ban transgender care for minors and make it a felony to provide such care.

According to The New York Times, “Although orders on the emergency docket often include no reasoning, the decision included concurrences by Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, who was joined by Justices Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Clarence Thomas, and Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, who was joined by Justice Amy Coney Barrett.”

In other words, the court’s most conservative members were all, “You go, Idaho! Ban them trans kids! Jail those doctors!”

In a statement, the American Civil Liberties Union called the ruling “an awful result for transgender youth and their families.”

“Today’s ruling allows the state to shut down the care that thousands of families rely on while sowing further confusion and disruption,” the statement continues. “Nonetheless, today’s result only leaves us all the more determined to defeat this law in the courts entirely, making Idaho a safer state to raise every family.”

Sadly that’s not the end of bad news out of Idaho.

According to The Advocate, “The Idaho State Legislature adjourned its 2024 session…having passed three new laws that target gender-affirming care, permit the practice of misgendering and deadnaming in public schools, and define gender as a binary sexual concept. Republican Gov. Brad Little signed all three bills.”

As The Advocate reports, one of the bills “defines gender as a synonym for biological sex and ‘shall not be considered a synonym for gender identity, an internal sense of gender, experienced gender, gender expression, or gender role.’”

Another bill “bans public funds including Medicaid from covering gender-affirming care.”

The third bill “allows educators and students to misgender or deadname others without any resulting disciplinary action.”

On March 4, LGBTQ+ supporters held a rally led by the progressive activist group March Fourth in protest of the proposed bills.

“We are here to tell lawmakers in Idaho to keep the LGBTQ+ community out of their hateful legislation,” Joseph Crupper, a March Fourth organizer, told KTVB7.

KTVB7 quoted a speaker at the rally saying, “Being transgender, being nonbinary, does not strip any of us of our right to the pursuit of happiness.”

The rally, according to KTVB7, was organized by community leaders and “a host of local nonprofits: ACLU of Idaho, Add the Words, Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates, Southern Idaho PRIDE, PRIDE Foundation, Southeast Idaho PRIDE, Boise Trans Collective, Black Liberation Collective, Boise Unitarian Universalist Fellowship and Boise Pride Fest.”

On April 5, people protesting the proposed bills tossed tens of thousands of colorful paper hearts over the fourth-floor railing in the Idaho capitol.

According to The Advocate, the ACLU of Idaho “took to social media to ask local residents to mail in homemade paper hearts. Across just ten days, the organization collected over 48,000, representing the 48,000 Idaho residents who identified as LGBTQ+ in the 2020 Census.”

The Idaho legislature passed the bills anyway.

Sen. Mary Shea, a Democrat, brought up concerns about how much these hateful bills will cost the state.

“Idaho has already lost twice civil rights litigation concerning gender identification on birth certificates,” she said, according to The Advocate. “By our calculation, we have paid approximately $14 million over the last decade trying to defend statutes like this one. I’m really concerned about what this is going to mean for Idaho taxpayers.”

Something to remember the next time that Republicans scream about fiscal responsibility. 

Sen. Melissa Wintrow, a Democrat, posted about the protest on Instagram. “Advocates denounce anti-LGBTQ+ laws with thousands of paper hearts,” Wintrow posted. “It was a beautiful representation of all the lives being negatively impacted by legislation. LGBTQ+ community, I want you to know that I see you, I believe in you, and I stand with you. You are loved, you are valued, and you belong.”

The Advocate also reports that the protesters had a designated clean-up crew who collected the hearts after the protest. So they didn’t just trash the Capitol and leave, unlike, oh I don’t know, a certain Trump-supporting mob on a certain January 6.

As bad as all of this news out of Idaho is, don’t overlook the fact that there are a lot of people who are fighting for trans and queer people in Idaho and that is not nothing. Keep fighting.

D’Anne Witkowski is a writer living in Michigan with her wife and son. She has been writing about LGBTQ+ politics for nearly two decades. Follow her on Twitter @MamaDWitkowski.

DAnne Witkowski

D'Anne Witkowski is a poet, writer and comedian living with her wife and son. She has been writing about LGBT politics for over a decade. Follow her on Twitter @MamaDWitkowski.

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