National News Highlights — July 22, 2022

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Photo by Jonathan Ernst / Reuters
Photo by Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

Tennessee Judge blocks federal Trans protections
Reuters reported on July 16 that Judge Charles Atchley Jr. of the East District of Tennessee has temporarily blocked the Biden administration's pro-Trans directives, which allow Trans workers and students to use bathrooms and locker rooms and join sports teams that correspond with their gender identity.

Atchley argued that the directives would make it impossible for some states to enforce their own laws on Trans athletes and access to bathrooms, or not without losing significant federal funding. The states, Atchley wrote, "cannot continue regulating pursuant to their state laws while simultaneously complying with Defendants' guidance."

Oklahoma Attorney General John O'Connor, a plaintiff in the case, called the development "a major victory in women's sports and for the privacy and safety of girls and women in their school bathrooms and locker rooms."

Listed as the defendants were the Justice Department, Department of Education, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. None replied immediately to Reuters' requests for comment, but they had requested earlier that Atchley dismiss the states' lawsuit.

House Republicans prep for victory with anti-Trans bills
Reuters reported on July 14 that Republican senators in Congress, in preparing for a possible the event that they Republican majority intake control of Congress after this fall's midterm elections, have been preparing legislation that critics say would roll back protections for Trans people.

One bill introduced would block federal funding to colleges where Trans women are allowed to participate in sports with cisgender women. Another would allow Trans people to sue any medical personnel who helped them transition as minors, and a third would block funding to schools that disobey state censorship laws about "materials harmful to minors," in the same vein as state laws used to remove LGBT-related books.

The Human Rights Campaign, an LGBT advocacy group, has criticized the bills for restricting needed medical care for Trans youth, given that Trans people are significantly more likely to attempt or commit suicide when they lack access to gender-affirming medical care.

According to the ACLED, a nonpartisan organization that tracks violence globally, violence against LGBT people has increased fourfold between 2020 and 2021 in the United States. The increase occurred coincided with a the three-year dramatic increase in anti-LGBT state bills that began in 2018 and is ongoing.

"There has always been fringe voices who oppose LGBTQ equality," said GLAAD president Sarah Kate Ellis," "but now, unfortunately, that fringe has grown loud and is being given national platforms."

According to a June poll by the Pew Research Center, sixty-four percent of Americans support protecting Trans people from discrimination, while 10% oppose such protection.