Respect Diversity + Inclusion

Arizona activists challenge proposed anti-LGBTQ+ legislation

Story at a glance

  • Several bills seeking to restrict access to things like gender-affirming care for transgender youth have already been introduced in Arizona less than a month into the new year.
  • State Rep. César Chávez (D) has called for conversations with his colleagues across the aisle, according to the Los Angeles Blade.
  • In a recent Trevor Project poll, more than two-thirds of LGBTQ+ youth said their mental health had been negatively affected by recent efforts to limit the rights of transgender and nonbinary people.

Lawmakers and activists in Arizona are pushing back against a slew of anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced in the state legislature less than a month into the new year.

At least five bills have been proposed in Arizona seeking to restrict access to gender-affirming care, limit gender markers on official documents to only “male” and “female” and require educators to use pronouns for students that may not align with their gender identity.

Another proposed bill would require students in Arizona public schools to receive written permission from parents or guardians to participate in school clubs involving gender or sexuality.

“This is an attack on human rights,” Arizona state Rep. César Chávez (D) said at a recent press conference hosted by the HRC, the Los Angeles Blade reported.


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“We’re criminalizing individuals for being who they are. On top of that, we’re criminalizing doctors and health care workers, individuals that are doing their job,” said Chávez, who is also chairman of the Arizona LGBTQ Legislative Caucus.

He added that he’d like to have conversations with his fellow lawmakers across the aisle, but interactions like those have “become a rarity here in the Arizona State Legislature.”

“I will say that it’s going to take political will from my Republican colleagues to be able to vote against these bills,” Chávez said.

Changing America has reached out to Arizona state Sen. Wendy Rogers (R), the sponsor of one of the proposed bills targeting access to gender-affirming care, for comment.

At the same conference, Lizette Trujillo, the mother of a transgender child, said the proposed legislation has negatively affected her family and accused state lawmakers of using LGBTQ+ individuals as “political pawns,” according to the LA Blade.

“Legislators in our state are wielding their power to leverage the most vulnerable youth in our state to further their political careers,” she said. “This causes irreparable harm on the transgender community.”

In a recent poll published by the Trevor Project, an LGBTQ+ youth suicide prevention and crisis intervention group, more than two-thirds of young LGBTQ+ people said their mental health had been negatively affected by recent efforts to limit the rights of transgender and nonbinary people.

States in 2021 enacted a “record-shattering” number of anti-LGBTQ+ policies into law, making it the worst year in recent history for LGBTQ+ state legislative attacks, according to the HRC.

Doctors have said a mental health crisis is looming among transgender and nonbinary youth, particularly as states work to limit access to gender-affirming care, which has been linked to a significantly reduced risk of depression and suicide.


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