'I Desperately Wish That We Could Move Beyond Words'
Today in What Now: Katelyn Burns on fighting the anti-trans movement.
Happy Monday, y'all, and welcome to another edition of What Now with me, your fabulous host with the most, Sam Grasso! For today I interviewed journalist Katelyn Burns about the anti-trans legislation that states have introduced over the past few months, attacking trans kids by trying to outlaw their medical care or remove them from sports competitions, under the guise of "caring about children." So far Arkansas has passed a bill to ban gender-affirming medical treatment for trans kids, and dozens of states have proposed more than 100 similar bills. You can find Burns' work at Vox, MSNBC Daily, and the Cancel Me, Daddy podcast, where she is a co-host.
So there’s this “anti-trans legislation 2.0,” as you called it. What has led to this second wave?
The things they're trying to do now, especially around medical care for kids, they’ve been planning since the earliest days of the modern anti-trans movement that started around 2015, in Houston. It was fresh off of legalized marriage equality. And people were saying, “Oh, is this the end of the social conservative movement?” Houston had a referendum on an LGBT anti-discrimination ordinance, [which the city voted against]. And the talking point was “no men and women's bathrooms.” So that kicked off the bathroom bill [movement].
Around that time, you started to see the social conservatives in the U.S. switch gears away from gay people and towards trans people. The Family Research Council wrote a document saying that their goal is to eventually restrict or outright ban medical care for transgender people, especially kids.
The “anti-trans bills 1.0” were the bathroom bills in North Carolina and Texas. It almost backfired on them because the more the public learned about trans people, they [responded,] “This is kind of ridiculous. Why is the government so concerned with this?” So 2017, 2018, these bills are proposed. They have no chance of passing, and people are saying, “Okay, well, I guess the social conservative movement is [next].” Well, no, they just reformed.