BOISE, Idaho — As we previously reported, the bill to ban transgender youth healthcare died in committee, but two other house bills targeting transgender Idahoans are still alive and getting support in the Idaho State Capitol. To combat the proposed legislation, LGBTQ+ activists and other opponents took to the streets of downtown Boise Tuesday to make their opposition heard.
“Trans girls are girls," said Mosier. "I want young people to know that it’s okay to be your authentic self and to play the sports that you love."
The rally outside the Statehouse was led by transgender athlete Chris Mosier, the first trans pro athlete to represent the US internationally, and the first trans athlete to be sponsored by Nike. He flew in from Chicago to attend the rally.
“H.B. 500 is a solution to a problem that does not exist," said Rep. Muffy Davis, D-Hailey.
Planned by ACLU Idaho, groups like Add the Words and Planned Parenthood came out to show opposition for House Bill 500 which would ban trans girls from playing on girls’ high school and college sports teams and would require pelvic exams to confirm gender. The House endorsed it last week, 52 to 17.
In a statement to 6 On Your Side Tuesday, Representative Barbara Ehardt, R-Idaho Falls, defended her bill, saying, "To be clear, the purpose of House Bill 500 is to ensure the continued opportunities for girls and women in sports." She added, "It is disheartening to think that some athletes, under the guise of equality, do not support girls and women as they pursue their dreams to stand atop the podium as a champion because a biological male had taken her spot.”
Several speakers at Tuesday's rally spoke in favor of trans rights and against House Bill 500, some even calling it "transphobic," though Ehardt has told us in the past that this is not how she views her bill.
“To try to force trans children into these spaces that are very clearly meant to oppress them, is beyond the scope that I thought even Idaho would fall under, unfortunately," said Percephone Bias, a transgender woman from Idaho.
But House Bill 500’s not the only bill these advocates spoke out against; they also voiced opposition to Republican Representative Julianne Young’s House Bill 509 that would prevent trans Idahoans from changing their sex on their birth certificates.
The bill text reads, “biological sex is an objectively defined category that has obvious, immutable, and distinguishable characteristics.”
“People are totally right about someone having a biological gender, but there is always a gender identity, and that is separate from the biological gender and it is just as important," said Alyssa Silva, an activist at Tuesday's rally.
Mosier said sports provided him with his community and a source of strength, and that he wishes to be an inspiration for young trans athletes in Idaho and elsewhere.
“Young people need to see that there are people that support them, who love them, who will support and love them regardless of how they identify," said Mosier.
The House passed the birth certificate bill 53-16, despite a 2018 ruling issued by US. District Court Judge which said that the state cannot prohibit transgender individuals from applying to change the sex listed on their birth certificate to match the one they identify with.
6 On Your Side will keep you updated on the progress of both of these bills.