South Carolina Bill H3477 is now in committee and will likely come up before the state house for a full vote soon. An attempt by the S.C. legislature to prevent school-age transgender females from participating in girls’ sporting activities, the amendment reads as follows: 

“A Bill to amend the code of laws of South Carolina, 1976, so as to enact the “Save Women’s Sports Act” by adding section 59-1-500 so as to ensure continued inclusivity of females in the school sports arena by providing that public and private middle school level and high school level teams and sports must be designated based on biological sex, to provide that teams or sports designated for females may be restricted to students of the female sex, to provide for certain protections for public and private schools and to provide certain relief for violations.” 

Interestingly enough, the bill was not prompted in response to any actual case of a transgender female teen taking part in girls’ sports in the state. According to various news reports, no such incident has occurred there. Rep. Ashley Trantham (R-SC) confirmed she was unaware of any transgender individuals competing in S.C. sports. The proposed ban, she claims, is to prevent possible problems in the future, which makes the bill seem like nothing more than political pandering to the state’s extremist far right.

While the the bill has raised significant ire in the LGBTQ and allied communities, one South Carolina  organization is mounting a campaign to offer positive support for transgender individuals.

UpLift Outreach Center (UpLift) has made it their mission to safeguard LGBTQ youth from discrimination and harm that may occur within homes, schools and during additional extracurricular activities. 

According to UpLift, fallout from H3477 could ultimately do harm to transgender youth in South Carolina and potentially out closeted trans teens there. It could additionally create harmful environments for those attempting to receive medical aid relating to the transition process. 

UpLift’s mission is one of inclusion and financial aid, but the organization itself could not have come about without a bit of aid themselves. Fundraising for UpLift came from PFLAG Spartanburg’s Rainbow Masquerade Ball in 2019. Since then, the group has been training volunteers and partnering with other organizations to create a safe space for struggling LGBTQ individuals under the age of 18. 

COVID-19 struck just as UpLift’s programs were being created. As of 2021, all of their events have shifted online. To date, no permanent physical location to base their operations has been secured.

Since H3477 has made its way to a full committee review, UpLift  is currently requesting donations for transgender care packages in an effort to make transgender and non-binary individuals feel supported in the wake of the discriminatory legislation. These packages may consist of handwritten notes or cards, LGBTQ paraphernalia, educational supplies and face masks. 

The paper messages should contain gender neutral language that is positive or UpLift-ing in some way.  LGBTQ fashion accessories should be free of any sexual imagery or crude language and meant to be worn with pride. Pride flags or pins are especially encouraged. 

School supplies may include pens and pencils, notebooks, or pencil cases. Candy that does not melt is also an acceptable treat for these care packages. 

Donated items may be sent to UpLift Outreach Center, P.O. Box 171375, 520 Blackstock Rd., Spartanburg, SC, 29301. 

Monetary contributions may be donated to Paypal.me/upliftoutreachcenter. 

In order to nominate someone for a care package, complete this questionnaire: bit.ly/3lv5aTX.

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