by Henry Berg-Brousseau •
HB 1099 targets transgender individuals by removing access to name changes and gender marker updates
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, condemns the Mississippi House for passing HB 1099, legislation which bans incarcerated individuals from petitioning the court to legally change their name and bars individuals from updating their gender marker while serving their sentence. The bill now goes to the Senate for a vote.
The anti-transgender animus of HB 1099 is absolutely clear: as introduced, it would have made it impossible for transgender youth to change their gender marker, leaving little doubt that this bill – in both its original and amended form – are attacks directed at transgender Mississippians.
“By advancing the ‘Real You Act,’ Representatives have again made Mississippi an innovator in anti-transgender discrimination,” said Rob Hill, Mississippi State Director, Project One America. “This legislation is being pushed by anti-equality forces in the state house and not addressing any actual problem – it’s an exceptionally shameful example of politicians trying to score political points on the backs of some of the most vulnerable individuals in our society.
In a country that incarcerates a larger share of its people than any other, transgender individuals are disproportionately likely to end up behind bars. And once they are there, they face much higher levels of mistreatment and violence. They are often housed in facilities that do not match their gender identity, are inappropriately placed in solitary confinement, and face astronomically high rates of sexual assault. This bill does nothing to address any of the actual issues being experienced by incarcerated transgender people and instead places another hurdle in front of them. Our elected leaders must do better.”
Anti-trans bills, like the ‘Real You Act,’ are the result of a concerted effort by right-wing organizations that have been battling against LGBTQ+ progress for years:
HB 1099 and its twin legislation in the Senate, SB 2356, are clear examples – these bills follow the direct recommendations of a 2015 policy paper by the Family Research Council, an anti-LGBTQ+ hate-group. The policy paper makes recommendations on how to limit the rights of trans people by explicitly barring them from obtaining legal identification that affirms their identity – including through limiting access to legal name changes.
In 2014, HRC launched Project One America, an initiative geared towards advancing social, institutional, and legal equality in Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, and as of 2019, Texas. HRC Mississippi continues to work to advance equality for LGBTQ+ Mississippians who have no state-level protections in housing, workplace or public accommodations. HRC Mississippi works toward a future of fairness every day — changing hearts, minds, and laws in pursuit of full equality.
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