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In Final Weeks of South Carolina Legislative Session, Organizers Will Unite to Defeat Anti-Transgender Sports Bill and Healthcare Discrimination Bill

by SC United for Justice and Equality on Apr 15, 2022

Organizers successfully held off many extreme bills from advancing by last week’s crossover deadline; now, all attention turns to H.4776 and H.4608

COLUMBIA, SC – Last week marked the crossover deadline for South Carolina’s legislature – the date by which legislation must be approved by one legislative chamber in order to be considered for the remainder of the session without a significant bipartisan majority. Many bills did not advance, including several proposals to censor school curriculum from including conversations about racial justice, an effort to preempt local governments from protecting LGBTQ youth from ‘conversion therapy,’ and bills to restrict abortion access in the state.

Two bills attacking the LGBTQ community, however, were approved by the SC House, meaning they will remain under consideration by the Senate in the weeks to come. The SC United for Justice & Equality coalition has prioritized the defeat of these bills in 2022 and remains more committed than ever to working with lawmakers to stop these attacks. One bill, H.4608, would restrict transgender students from participating in school sports in middle school, high school, and college. Another, H.4776, would grant medical providers a broad “license to discriminate” that could harm LGBTQ people, women, and people of diverse faith backgrounds.

Now, with just these two bills posing immediate threats, organizers dedicated to racial justice, reproductive justice, and LGBTQ equality are coming together with laser-focused dedication to defeat H.4608 ad H.4776.

Melissa Moore (they/them), a leader in SC United for Justice & Equality, a coalition of more than 30 organizations committed to LGBTQ equality in SC, spoke on behalf of the coalition. Melissa, who also serves as Lowcountry Manager for WREN: Women’s Rights & Empowerment Network, said:

“There are just a few weeks left of what has been a grueling legislative session for LGBTQ+ people, especially transgender people, and now we’re in an all-hands-on-deck moment to defeat these two ugly bills in South Carolina. Extreme lawmakers have thrown the kitchen sink at organizers this session, and it’s been inspiring to see our movement show up time and time again to resist attacks on racial justice, reproductive health, and more. Now we have to turn up the pressure and join together as a broad coalition dedicated to uplifting trans people and resisting efforts to discriminate.”

Aj Davis (he/him), a leader in the Pro-Truth SC Coalition, which centered on defeating the curriculum censorship bills, added:

“We’re proud of how powerfully South Carolinians showed up this year to testify against and take action against racist efforts to undermine truth in our schools. We’ll remain vigilant on last-minute efforts to censor our school curriculum – and our coalition is eager to join with our partners to block these anti-LGBTQ attacks. We cannot allow our schools to be legislative playgrounds that extreme lawmakers can hold up to establish their conservative bona fides – and we must all be in solidarity with the most vulnerable members of our community, including transgender youth.”

Vicki Ringer (she/her), Director of Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, said:

“When we started the session in January, we faced attacks on abortion on multiple fronts. But we kept showing up, sharing our stories, and pushing back at every step, and we have held the line so far on abortion access for all South Carolinians. Now, as we stay cautious about any attack on reproductive justice, our attention turns to H.4608 and H.4776. Anti-transgender forces are trying to discriminate against transgender people in the name of women, even as they ignore the real issues with gender equality in sports like funding, resources, and pay equity. We must continue fighting back against anti-LGBTQ bills and saying again and again that transgender girls are girls and they deserve dignity and equality like any other South Carolinian.”

Advocates from the SC United for Justice & Equality coalition are available to speak with media about the legislation and its damaging impact on transgender youth.

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