TUCSON – PCDP EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE APPOINTEE JAMES CERASIA released the following statement on the recent passage of anti-trans bills SB1138 and SB1165, which restrict access to gender-affirming care and ban sports participation for transgender children in Arizona.

“The Pima County Democratic Party vehemently condemns The Arizona Legislature’s passing and Governor Ducey’s signing into law two pieces of discriminatory legislation. These new laws target transgender children by restricting their access to gender-affirming care and banning transgender girls from engaging in school sports. These laws deny fundamental rights and protections to transgender children under the Constitution, and thus violate our American and Democratic principles.

Some of our most vulnerable community members are under attack in the State of Arizona.  The first bill, Arizona Senate Bill 1138, effectively bans gender-affirming surgery for transgender children.

The Governor signed the bill into law to protect trans children from “undergoing irreversible gender reassignment surgery [until they] are of adult age.” However, the opposite is true. The law is creating life-threatening harm to transgender children for whom such treatment is medically necessary.

Access to gender-affirming care saves lives. Transgender and nonbinary children have a drastically higher rate of suicide than their cisgender peers. When this community has access to gender-affirming care, they are allowed the option to explore their gender identity without judgments or assumptions. Not every trans person elects this care when given a choice—it’s a highly individual choice. Nevertheless, by banning access to gender-affirming care for transgender children, the Republicans are not helping this community, but instead ignoring the American Academy of Pediatrics and other leading medical professionals by denying best practices and life-saving care.

Further, medical providers and patients determine their healthcare decisions, not government officials. Arizona’s Republican Governor and Legislature are once again overreaching into the private affairs of citizens by policing one’s rights over their own body. Republicans claim to be the only party that cares about personal freedom and choice, yet this bill was created for the singular purpose of limiting and owning the bodies of trans children. 

Last week, the United States Department of Justice wrote a letter to Attorney General Mark Brnovich, warning that this law violates constitutional rights and the Department is prepared to pursue legal action. Are the Republicans willing to waste millions of taxpayer dollars defending a discriminatory law?

The second bill, Senate Bill 1165, bars trans girls from participating in female sports in all schools (public and private; kindergarten through university) that compete against Arizona public schools. The Republicans claim they passed this measure to protect cisgender female athletes. Again, such a claim is pretextual. Cisgender women are not under attack by transgender people. Modern science demonstrates that trans females do not have an inherent and unfair advantage in sports. Does a tall person automatically dominate on the basketball court? No. Are the Republicans claiming that cisgender women are weak and inferior and thus need protection? If the Republican Party wanted to protect cisgender women, they would stop restricting access to abortions and the ballot boxes. They also would put more effort into strengthening our laws against sexual assault and domestic violence.

In actuality, the Republican Party is creating a scapegoat from a historically underrepresented community to win votes. They are targeting a primarily misunderstood and vilified community. The Republicans are bullying young students that want to live their lives like their peers—able to express themselves in a manner in which they are comfortable and play the sports they like with their friends.

We say this to our transgender brothers and sisters: you have an ally and an advocate in the Pima County Democratic Party. We will not tolerate nor allow your existence to be debated, policed, or politicized. We see you, we love you, and we will fight for your rights.

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