Tag: Bans

Trans girl has simple message for lawmakers over athletic bans

Trans girl who just wants to play sports has simple message for lawmakers

Rebekah in the ACLU video “Meet the girl who lawmakers want to ban from playing sports”. (YouTube/Human Rights Campaign)

A 14-year-old girl who plays field hockey at school has told lawmakers considering anti-trans bills that she just wants to play sports with her friends.

In a three-minute Human Rights Campaign video, Rebekah says sports are simply “something that I really like doing”.

“I’m so much more than trans. That doesn’t make me less of a girl, doesn’t make me less of a human, either. I’m just me!” she says.

The video has been published in response to a Republican-led “legislative boom” that has seen at least 25 states introduce over 60 bills targeting transgender children, the most common being bans on trans girls and women competing in sports. More than 50 anti-trans bills across 30 states are attempting to ban trans girls and women from playing on female sports teams.

More anti-trans bills have been introduced in the first three months of 2021 than in any other year so far – and it’s no accident, legal advocates have warned. Many of them target trans girls just like Rebekah.

In the video, Rebekah plays hockey with three of her team mates.

She has been “playing field hockey for four years now,” she smiles, explaining: “The concept is so fun because like, you get to have a stick and you get to hit a ball with it.”

“I also really love the people I’m always surrounded with and the community that I create,” she says. “It’s such a tight-knit group.”

The video shows her arm in arm and hugging her friends. “When we’re on the field, my teammates, they just see me as me,” Rebekah says. “They see me as a teammate who they’re going to play with, who they’re going to win with, who they’re going to lose with, and just someone who they will work with together.”

Rebekah is a bright student who finds school easy, according to her mum, Jamie.

“Rebekah’s really good at a lot of things,” Jamie says in the video. “She aces her schoolwork with very little effort. She’s great in music and theater. She doesn’t have to try really hard. And so sports are this place where she does have to work hard. She learns a lot from not being the best, and from really having to commit to get better at something.”

But if trans girls are banned from girls sports teams – as is being proposed in dozens of US states – Rebekah will simply stop playing.

Hungary Bans Same-Sex Couples and Most Single People from Adopting

Hungary Bans Same-Sex Couples and Most Single People from Adopting

In the latest of a series of anti-LGBTQ moves, Hungary’s parliament has changed its constitution to ban same-sex couples and most single people from adopting children.

Hungarian Parliament Building - Budapest

Hungarian Parliament Building – Budapest. Photo credit: Jorge Franganillo. Used under CC BY 2.0

The change on Tuesday, championed by Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his right-wing Fidesz party, will allow adoption only by married couples and single people “granted special permission by the government,” reports the Washington Post. Same-sex couples cannot marry in Hungary, although they may get civil unions. Same-sex couples had previously been able to adopt by having only one partner apply to be the legal parent, “but the new law puts an end to this practice,” the Post says.

Justice Minister Judit Varga posted part of the text of the new legislation on her Facebook page:

Hungary protects the institution of marriage as a cohabitation between a man and a woman, based on voluntary decision, and the family as the basis for the survival of the nation. The basis of the family relationship is the marriage and the parent-child relationship. The mother is a woman, the father is a man.

The Háttér Society, the largest and oldest non-governmental LGBTQI organization in Hungary, tweeted that this legislation, however, will “stigmatize same-sex couples raising children and transgender people, make LGBTQI school education programs impossible and complicate single-parent adoption.” They add, in a series of tweets:

These provisions are very problematic on their own, as they go against international human rights norms and especially the rights of children. LGBTQI children exist, forcing them to live according to conservative ideals might make them invisible, but will not make them disappear.

Restricting the number of potential adoptive parents means that more children will remain in state care or be adopted abroad where they can’t maintain their language or cultural identity. There are already hundreds of children being adopted outside of Hungary.

Adopting such highly problematic laws at the peak of the COVID pandemic is even more appaling [sic]: it is part of a political strategy to divert attention away from the government’s inability to control the health and economic crisis.

The adoption legislation is not the only anti-LGBTQ move made by Orban’s government, however. In May, it banned transgender people from changing their gender identity on identification documents. These are shameful moves by the government. I hope that both national and international pressure comes to bear to reverse these harmful and short-sighted policies.

Also coincidentally released on Tuesday was the “State-Sponsored Homophobia 2020: Global Legislation Overview Update ” from the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, a worldwide federation of more than 1,600 organizations from over 150 countries and territories. Among other findings, it notes that “69 UN member States still criminalise consensual same-sex sexual acts between adults,” with six member States prescribing the death penalty.

On the positive side, 11 UN member States have constitutional provisions that specify sexual orientation in their anti-discrimination protections; 57 offer broad protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation; 81 protect against workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation; 48 impose enhanced criminal penalties for offences motivated by hate towards the victim’s sexual orientation; and 4 have nationwide bans against “conversion therapies.” Twenty-eight recognize marriage for same-sex couples (plus one non-UN jurisdiction, Taiwan); 34 provide for some partnership recognition; and 28 have joint adoption laws, with 32 allowing for same-sex second parent adoption. (Yet the data alone can be deceiving: “In Ecuador, constitutional protection co-exists with a constitutional ban on adoption of children by same-sex couples,” the report notes.) This report shows the progress that has been made over the past decades—but also, as this latest move from Hungary emphasizes, how far we have yet to go. Onward….