The governor of Idaho set his state on a collision course with the courts Monday evening, by signing two controversial bills into law. Both measures target Idaho’s transgender community with the most discriminatory laws in America.
House Bill 500 forbids transgender girls from competing in school sports with girls who are cisgender — which means not transgender. One of the more controversial aspects of the bill is that if a high school or college student athlete is believed to be trans and competing on a women’s team, the school would be permitted to perform a physical examination of their genitals to verify their gender, as well as blood and chromosomal testing, according to Boise State Public Radio.
Such tests are invasive and not part of routine physicals that athletes have to complete before competing, according to the three Democrats on the committee who opposed the bill.
“This bill asks doctors to perform procedures way outside of the standards of care,” said Dr. Jessica Duvall, a pediatrician in Idaho. “Moreover, even if the tests were performed against medical society norms, more often than not they do not yield clear, easily interpreted results.” Duvall said such testing is not recommended for student athletes by the American Academy of Pediatrics, or any other medical association.
The other bill signed into law Monday night by Gov. Little is House Bill 509, which prohibits transgender people from changing the sex listed on their birth certificates.
For a trans person, having a birth certificate that does not match their authentic gender identity can lead to discrimination in hiring, home ownership and other aspects of daily life where proper, matching identification is essential.
This new law will likely face a court challenge since a federal court ruled in 2018 that a prior Idaho law that banned transgender people from changing the gender marker on their birth certificates was unconstitutional.
Idaho attorney general’s office said defending the new law could cost the state $1 million, according to KTVB.com
The ACLU of Idaho was swift to condemn Little’s decision to sign the bills into law, calling them ‘discriminatory, unconstitutional, and deeply hurtful.”
“Leaders from the business, faith, medical, education and athletics communities will not forget this decision or what it says about the governor’s priorities during a global pandemic,” said the ACLU in a statement. “The ACLU will see the governor in court. We encourage all Idahoans to email, call, and tweet Gov. Little to express outrage and disappointment at wasting precious taxpayer resources on blatantly anti-transgender bills at a time when we should be coming together for the health and wellbeing of our people.”
The Human Rights Commission calls both laws unconstitutional, promising they will result in litigation at the cost of the Idaho taxpayer during the worst pandemic in the history of the world.
“Shame on Governor Little and the legislators who championed these heinous pieces of legislation.”
“We are living in an unprecedented global health crisis, with confirmed cases of COVID-19 increasing on a daily basis in Idaho, across the United States and around the world, but Governor Brad Little and the Idaho legislature have decided to prioritize the demonization of transgender people,” said Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign, in a statement. “This is unacceptable, and a gross misuse of taxpayer funds and trust. Idaho is leading the way in anti-transgender discrimination, and at a time when life is hard enough for everyone, Idaho’s elected leaders will be remembered for working to make their transgender residents’ lives even harder.”
The laws were signed by Gov. Little on the eve of International Transgender Day of Visibility. According to Forbes.com’s Ashlee Fowlkes, TDoV was founded on March 31, 2009 by Rachel Crandall, a licensed psychotherapist specializing in trans issues. Its purpose is to recognize the accomplishments of trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming people as well as to bring attention to their continued struggles.
Struggles that are in sharp relief in Idaho this year.