From banning transgender girls in school sports teams to removing LGBTQ protections, South Carolina’s government has spent the last several months persecuting the queer community. These laws and bills, however, have not deterred the LGBTQ and allied communities.
SC United for Justice and Equality is one organization that was formed in response to all of the negative legislation. Made up of activist groups from all walks of life, this coalition recently decided to take these judicial matters into their own hands, as reported in the South Carolina newspaper The State.
With desperate pleas from LGBTQ individuals to lawmakers and a SC United for Justice and Equality lobbyist, the queer community has taken to courthouses and council meetings in an effort to make their voices heard. Many of these organizations, like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), SC Pride and the Campaign for Southern Equality have existed long before the “Save Women’s Sports Act” was introduced.
This points to the lengthy history of South Carolina’s anti-LGBTQ policies. One such law, House Bill 4047, states that transgender youths would be ineligible to receive medical care for their transitions. This bill would also require school staff to disclose the student’s gender identity to their parents if it differed in any way from their biological sex.
These bits of legislation are recurring over time, but masquerading as different laws. Over one hundred anti-transgender bills have been introduced in 2021 over thirty-three different states. Not all South Carolina state representatives are convinced of the necessity of these laws.
Previous Gov. Nikki Haley was adamant that South Carolina did not need to pass a bill stating that gender expansive individuals could not use their preferred restrooms. Instead, she emphasized, “Like it or not, South Carolina is doing really well when it comes to respect and when it comes to kindness and when it comes to acceptance.”
This sentiment is mirrored by cities such as Charleston, Columbia, Folly Beach and Latta, which have prohibited anti-LGBTQ discrimination in employment, housing or public accommodations.
In response to the importance of protecting LGBTQ youth in South Carolina, Colleen Condon, board member of the Alliance for Full Acceptance, says, “We know for a fact that kids who are trans have a five time more likely situation to consider suicide. … Why create a situation in which a kid that already feels so unwelcome by their school, so unloved in many situations, why put them through that?”
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