Montana Bill Would Let Students Misgender, Deadname Classmates

Bill would bar schools from punishing students who purposely misgender their peers
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 9, 2023 12:04 AM CST
Montana Bill Would Let Students Misgender, Deadname With Impunity
FILE - Demonstrators gather on the steps of the Montana state Capitol protesting anti-LGBTQ legislation in Helena, Mont., March 15, 2021.   (Thom Bridge/Independent Record via AP, File)

Montana schools would not be able to punish students who purposely misgender or deadname their transgender peers under a Republican-backed legislative proposal that opponents argue will increase bullying of children who are already struggling for acceptance, the AP reports. The proposal, co-sponsored by more than two dozen GOP lawmakers, would declare that it’s not discrimination to use a transgender classmate’s legal name or refer to them by their birth gender. Schools would be prevented from adopting policies to punish students who do so.

The proposal on misgendering and deadnaming is apparently the only existing legislation of its kind in the country this year, said Olivia Hunt, policy director for the National Center for Transgender Equity. “This would make Montana unique in enshrining the right to be bigoted toward or the right to bully trans children in the state code,” Hunt said. The proposal would not apply to teachers, but some states are considering bills that would protect teachers’ rights to refer to students by their birth names and gender. The Montana proposal comes amid a wave of legislation this year in Montana and other conservative states seeking to limit or ban gender-affirming medical care for transgender youth.

Montana's Senate passed a ban on gender-affirming medical care or surgery for minors on Wednesday, and lawmakers in Nebraska, Oklahoma and South Dakota considered bills Wednesday that would prohibit gender affirming treatments, like the use of puberty-blocking drugs and hormones, despite the endorsement of such treatments by major medical associations. Those measures passed legislative committees in Oklahoma and South Dakota, and also are expected to advance in conservative Nebraska, which has a nonpartisan Legislature, the AP reports. In Utah, the Republican governor recently signed a ban into law, and judges have temporarily blocked similar laws in Arkansas and Alabama.

(More transgender stories.)

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