Several Problems Weekly #2: 4 — 10 February 2024

This entry covers Sunday 4 — Saturday 10 February. Apologies for the delay in posting it; I lost access to my ADHD medication and therefore had to cram this all in on Sunday and Monday.

This week there were outbreaks of news in:

This week I am adding headings so hopefully it is a bit easier to find your way around if you need to come back and skim read at some point in the future.


parkrun no longer publishing performance data

parkrun is no longer publishing certain data about participants’ performance, including most first-place finishes and speed records by age grade and gender category. parkrun has been an explicitly noncompetitive fun run since it was established, and the organisation says the records have been removed to counter the growing perception that the event is in some way a competition (“parkrun removes speed records,” 2024). According to the organisation, the decision has been in the works since before the COVID-19 pandemic (“parkrun removes speed records,” op. cit.), and GB News reports that parkrun chief executive officer Russ Jeffereys has denied the timing of the decisions is influenced by an ongoing campaign by anti-trans groups (Trapnell, 2024).

Dave Chappelle wins Grammy Award

On 4 February, the 66th annual Grammy Awards ceremony was held at the Staples Center (footnote: “Staples Center”) in Los Angeles, California. The Grammy for Best Comedy Album was awarded to Dave Chappelle for What’s In a Name? (Hughes, 2022). This is relevant because the entire album is a byproduct of Chappelle’s decision to go all in on transphobia. The title is a reference to the controversy that ensued when Chappelle’s high school, the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, tried to rename its theatre after him (Stein & Andrade-Rhodes, 2022). The controversy occurred because of the anti-trans remarks that Chappelle had already made in his previous special (Horowitz, 2024), The Closer (Lathan, 2021). Anecdotally, the primary content of the album is Gervais-esque jerking off about the “importance” of “comedians” as “social commentators”.

Joe Rogan attacks trans kids’ healthcare

On 7 February, The Joe Rogan Experience published episode 2099 (Rogan, 2024), featuring US National Football League (NFL) quarterback Aaron Rodgers, whose far-right political views are a matter of public record (Rosenberg, 2021; Salvador, 2022; Simonetti, 2024). During the episode, Rogan expressed his opposition to allowing trans kids to access gender-affirming care on the grounds that “children are … manipulated by this emerging market” (Rogan, 2024; Hookstead, 2024).

Irish dancing says trans rights

On 8 February, Ain Coimisiún Le Rincí Gaelacha (CLRG; “The Irish Dancing Commission”), the de facto world governing body, adopted a binding motion that trans Irish dancers can compete in the correct categories for their genders. Motions to force trans dancers to misgender themselves, or to establish a separate-but-equal “open” category, were defeated at the meeting by majority vote. CLRG is now drafting a new diversity, equality, and inclusion policy which will reflect its position on trans dancers, to be voted on at its annual meeting in May (Coyne, 2024).


New South Wales

Midcoast Christian College copping it from Binary

Starting 5 February, Midcoast Christian College in Taree, New South Wales, became the subject of targeted harassment by Binary Australia for “allowing [a trans girl student] to lie about being a girl and making the staff and students go along with it” (Smith, 2024a).

South Australia

Proposed select committee on trans kids

On 7 February, the South Australian Legislative Council considered a motion by Frank Pangallo MLC (Ind–A/L), carried over from November 2023, to establish a select committee to inquire into and report on gender-affirming care for trans kids in South Australia. Remarks by Pangallo and other advocates of the proposal, as well as the language of the proposal, use standard language which made it evident that the intention of the committee was similar to other inquiries into gender-affirming paediatrics proposed or secured by conservative politicians in other Western states — namely to engage in politically motivated “investigation” of the care in question in order to use the fact that it was being investigated as a basis to deny it. For instance, Pangallo said that his rationale was

a pretty clear-cut issue of child protection … We need to make sure these kids aren’t making a decision that is ill-informed, or that they’re being pressured or rushed into it, or that they aren’t perhaps suffering from some other kind of mental health issue that can be resolved from other treatment.

Pangallo, in Penberthy (2024)

Prior to debate on the motion there was some speculation in right-wing media (see, e.g., Penberthy, op. cit.) that it might pass if Premier Peter Malinauskas (ALP–Croydon) were to permit a conscience vote to MPs of the Labor Party’s Right faction. It may have been considered plausible that Malinauskas would do this because he is affiliated (Dayman, 2022) with the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association (SDA), the union “representing” Australian retail and service workers, whose affiliates in federal and state parliament represent the far-right wing of the Labor Party (Seccombe, 2014; Schneiders & Millar, 2016; Australian Associated Press, 2019). However, in the event, Malinauskas did not permit a conscience vote and the motion did not pass (Baxendale, 2024).


Geelong Grammar and the Child Safe Standards

Right-wing media appear to have become aware of the Victorian Department of Education’s Ministerial Order No. 1359, which took effect 1 July 2022, and which implements the Victorian Child Safe Standards. Standard 5.3 requires schools to:

[pay] particular attention to the needs of children and young people with disability, children and young people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, those who are unable to live at home, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex children and young people.

Victorian Commission for Children and Young People (n.d.)

The media actors in question are, naturally, misrepresenting this as schools being required to pay attention to the needs of trans students specifically, to the detriment of other students if necessary, as opposed to paying attention to children’s safety needs in general (O’Brien, 2024).

The catalyst for this sudden upsurge in interest appears to have been that one parent has removed his child from Geelong Grammar School, an elite private school previously attended by King Charles III, among others. The student is not Geelong Grammar’s first trans student by a long shot — although right-wing media are admitting this reluctantly, e.g. in the second last paragraph of O’Brien & Borg (2024), or not at all, e.g. in Hannaford (2024) — and the school has noted that its handling of the student is consistent with its Inclusivity Policy, first issued 2015. The matter has, of course, attracted the interest of local political bottom-feeders including Binary Australia (Smith, 2024b).

Moira Deeming and the 2017 study

On 7 February, in the Victorian Legislative Council, Moira Deeming MLC (Independent LPA—Western Metropolitan Region) raised a previous question on notice, #1264, to the Minister for Mental Health, “regarding the progress or fate of a very well-funded and much-needed long-term study established in 2017 into the health outcomes of children and adolescents with gender dysphoria attending the Royal Children’s Hospital”. I am unsure of the context here, but given Deeming’s well-established views on trans people (not positive!), I am very curious to know.



More fallout from Smith anti-trans policy package

On 4 February, the Alberta Medical Association’s Section of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry issued a statement of concern about Premier Danielle Smith’s new anti-trans policy package, mentioned in SPW #1 (Alberta Medical Association, 2024).

On 5 February, Randy Boissonnault MP (LPC–Edmonton Centre, AB), federal Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Official Languages, indicated the Liberal federal government of Canada would not seek to challenge the Smith UCP Government of Alberta’s anti-trans policy package through the courts, according to CBC News (Tasker, 2024).

Northwest Territories

Possible knock-on effects from Alberta

CBC News this week reported that the anti-trans policy measures taken by the Smith UCP Government of Alberta might adversely affect care in the Northwest Territories (NWT). While the NWT is not part of Alberta, due to its much smaller population and therefore much smaller base of medical expertise, the NWT Health and Social Services Authority is often forced to refer patients to specialists in Alberta (Krymalowski, 2024).



Free bus travel for trans people

On 5 February, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal MLA (AAP–New Delhi) announced that his government would provide free travel for members of the transgender community on buses operated by or under contract to the Delhi Transport Corporation, Delhi’s government-owned mass transit operator. The measure comes in the context of several years of lobbying followed by public interest litigation in the High Court of Delhi; it is similar to pre-existing initiatives for women and senior citizens (Rao, 2024).

Local LGBTQ+ groups have welcomed the scheme, albeit conditionally. For instance, Rupika Dhillon, director of the Society for People’s Awareness, Care and Empowerment (SPACE), a non-governmental organisation (NGO) which works with the trans community, has noted that trans women already qualify for free travel under the women’s free travel scheme, while trans men may have difficulty accessing the trans free travel scheme (Gupta, 2024).

Rudrani Chhetri, managing director of Mitr Trust, a trans health and human rights NGO, says it is important that the Delhi Government should clarify whether trans people who aren’t Delhi residents can use the free service, and how the scheme can be accessed without correctly-gendered legal identification, as access to correctly gendered ID for trans people is very slow (Gupta, op. cit.).

Dhillon also noted, more broadly, that the free transport initiative is not sufficient in and of itself, and indicated that if the Government was really interested in improving the plight of trans people — per Kejriwal’s remarks when introducing the scheme — then it should also draw up a policy to tackle the employment inequality faced by trans people (Gupta, op. cit.).


Mumbai’s first Pride march in four years

On 3 February, the first Pride march in Mumbai in four years took place. According to organisers before the event, expected attendance was about 1,000 (Ferlita, 2024a).



On 8 February, elections were held for the National Assembly of Pakistan. Nayyab Ali (Ind), a trans woman who is a well-established trans community advocate, contested the NA-46 and NA-47 districts, in the Islamabad area (Ali, 2024).

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

Elections for the provincial assemblies of all four provinces of Pakistan were also held on 8 February. In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sobia Khan (Ind), a trans civil rights and judicial activist, contested Provincial Assembly district KP-84, in the Peshawar area (Arshad, 2023).

United Kingdom


Parliamentary question: Posthumous gender recognition

On 19 January, Charlotte Nichols MP (Labour–Warrington North, England) filed a written parliamentary question with the Women and Equalities portfolio, “to ask the Minister for Women and Equalities if she will reform the Gender Recognition Act 2004 to allow transgender people who are deceased to be legally remembered by the gender they lived by”.

On 29 January, the question was answered by Stuart Andrew MP (CUP–Pudsey, England), the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Women and Equalities, who said:

We recognise the sensitivity of these situations, particularly when family and friends are dealing with the loss of a loved one. The Gender Recognition Act (GRA) 2004 provides for people to change their legal gender. Those who have undergone this process and acquired a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) before the time of their death will, of course, be recognised in their new gender.

Without undergoing the process of legal gender recognition and acquiring a GRC under the provisions laid out in the GRA 2004, a person has not legally changed gender. Therefore they would not be recognised in their new gender upon the unfortunate event of their death. That said, where a person was using their new gender with an organisation prior to their death, and that was on their personal records, then we anticipate that the organisation would engage with their family members using the new gender. These organisations could include the NHS, their place of work or community groups.

We recognise that everyone who decides to undergo a change in how their legal sex is recorded deserves our respect, support and compassion throughout the process. The process does not currently allow for third-party applications, such as posthumous applications on behalf of a deceased friend or relative, as any application will be a deeply personal undertaking and choice.

Following the GRA consultation and the subsequent changes we made to the application process, we have no plans to further amend the Act.

(emphases mine)

Esther Ghey, mindfulness, and the internet

On 6 February, Esther Ghey appeared on BBC Breakfast. Ghey is the mother of Brianna Ghey, 16, who was murdered partly because she was trans. One of Brianna’s killers, then known as Girl X, told the Crown Court she “enjoyed watching videos of murder and torture on the dark web” (Pidd, 2024). Presumably in reaction to this, Ms Ghey is campaigning for “under-16s to be blocked from accessing social media on smartphones and stronger parental controls to flag potentially harmful searches to parents”. She voiced her approval of the Online Safety Act 2023, which commenced in part on 10 January this year, but said “we do need something a little bit more drastic for children” (Landi, 2024). She is also raising money to “deliver mindfulness training” in schools (Standley, 2024).

As Trans Safety Network’s Mallory Moore notes in social media commentary (Moore, 2024a & 2024b), Ms Ghey’s goals are unfortunately likely to do more harm than good. Any expansion of the Online Safety Act is more likely to be targeted at restricting trans interest content than it is at restricting the content in which Brianna Ghey’s killers were interested; s 121 of the Act introduces a monitoring regime described by The Register as “encryption busting” (Clark, 2023), and described by Stonewall as “endanger[ing] LGBTQ+ people on a global scale” because LGBTQ+ people facing repression have to use end-to-end encrypted services of the kind being “busted” to communicate with caseworkers in — or to communicate within — the UK (de Santos, 2023). Moreover, the kind of school counselling for which Ms Ghey is advocating has been shown not to work (“Mindfulness in schools,” 2023).

Rishi Sunak does the impossible

On 7 February, in the House of Commons, an exchange took place between Prime Minister Rishi Sunak MP and Opposition Leader Sir Keir Starmer MP (Labour—Holborn and St Pancras, England) that attracted significant media interest in the United Kingdom and abroad. Hansard gives the exchange as follows:

KEIR STARMER: He says he stands by his commitments. He once insisted that if he missed his promises,

“I’m the Prime Minister…it’s on me personally”.

Today we learn from his own officials that he is the blocker to any deal to end the doctors’ strikes. Every time he is asked, he blames everyone else. What exactly did he mean when he said “it’s on me personally” if he does not meet his promise?

THE PRIME MINISTER: We are bringing down waiting lists for the longest waiters and making progress. It is a bit rich to hear about promises from someone who has broken every single promise he was elected on. I have counted almost 30 in the last year: pensions, planning, peerages, public sector pay, tuition fees, childcare, second referendums, defining a woman — although, in fairness, that was only 99% of a U-turn. The list goes on, but the theme is the same: empty words, broken promises and absolutely no plan.

KEIR STARMER: Of all the weeks to say that, when Brianna’s mother is in this chamber—shame! […]

The reason generally given for the media interest is that, as Starmer noted, Brianna Ghey’s mother Esther (mentioned separately above) was in the chamber at the time. Sunak’s remarks have been condemned by, among others,

  • Dehenna Davison MP (CUP—Bishop Auckland, England), who said it was “disappointing to hear jokes being made at the trans community’s expense”;
  • Penny Mordaunt MP (CUP—Portsmouth North, England), Leader of the House of Commons, who said the PM should “reflect” on his remarks.
  • Jess Phillips MP (Labour—Birmingham Yardley, England), who called Sunak “an absolute disgrace”.

as well as Ghey’s father Peter Spooner, who has demanded an apology, which Sunak has staunchly refused to provide (A. Mitchell, 2024). In short, Rishi Sunak has stumbled unenviably into doing the impossible: telling a transphobic joke that the British political media and class didn’t laugh at.

Informally, while the offence given to Brianna Ghey’s parents is the reason now being cited for why the story has had so much traction, I am not sure I believe it is the actual reason. While Sunak’s remarks are bigoted and fascist without context, and horrific with context, the British press is transparently a highly coordinated right-wing propaganda machine with a small number of points of centralised direction. Had it wished to, it could simply have chosen not to notice that anything occurred.

I am inclined to speculate that the actual reason that this is sticking, to the extent that it has done so, is that Sunak, the fifth prime minister of the Conservative Government initially installed under David Cameron’s leadership, appears himself to be the subject of yet another coup plot. Members of the plot may include Kemi Badenoch MP (CUP—Saffron Walden, England), the Minister for Women and Equalities (Crerar & Courea, 2024). If the media is foregrounding Sunak’s wrongdoing here in order to elevate Badenoch, that would be grimly hilarious given that Badenoch has been a leading exponent and architect of the specific transphobic Conservative Party policy agenda which motivated Sunak to say what he did (see, e.g., Bancroft, 2021; Ramsay & Bychawski, 2022; Adu, 2023).

I would like to believe, as some of my international correspondents do, that this might instead represent the high-water mark for transphobia in the British political and media class, and be the start of a turning of the tide. I do not believe it, but I would be very grateful to be proven wrong.


’52 Monologues for Young Transsexuals’

Playbill advises that from 4 to 16 March this year, Laurie Ward and Charli Cowgill’s 52 Monologues for Young Transsexuals, which was a hit at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, will play at the Soho Theatre in London. The production, which is for adults only, “dives into the reality of life as a trans woman,” and “was inspired by verbatim interviews with a wide variety of trans women about romance, sex, and the relationship between the mind and the body” (Hall, 2024).

United States

Federal or interstate

Saying the quiet part out loud

On 27 January, Republicans and anti-trans activists held a Twitter Space. Prominent attendees included:

  • Ohio State Rep. Gary Click (R–HD88, OH), who has a history of anti-trans activism (Riedel, 2022);
  • Michigan State Rep. Tom Kunse (R–HD100, MI);
  • Michigan State Rep. Brad Paquette (R–HD37, MI);
  • Michigan State Rep. Josh Schriver (R–HD66, MI);
  • Sen. Jonathan Lindsey (R–SD17, MI);
  • Sen. Lana Theis (R–SD22, MI), who has a history of comparing her LGBTQ+ and allied opponents to child molesters (King, 2022/2023);
  • Prisha Mosley, an ideologically motivated detransitioned activist (Urquhart, 2023).

In-depth reporting of the Space is available from Erin Reed (2024a). Notable remarks during the Space include (ibid.):

  • Rep. Click: “… Planned Parenthoods; they pass out hormones like candy, [Ohio Governor Mike DeWine]’s put a stop to that. That’s one of the places a lot of adults go. There’s also Euphoria and Plume …”
  • Rep. Schriver: “… why are we allowing these practices [i.e., gender-affirming care] for anyone? … we have to be … using that to move the window to say that this isn’t just wrong zero to eighteen, it’s wrong for everyone and we shouldn’t be allowing that to happen.”
  • Mosley: “I did want to say that … you cannot consent to a lie. Most of thse doctors are straight up lying about the effects and saying … that you can magically change sex.”

Vitsaxaki v. Skaneateles Central School District

On 31 January, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York, Syracuse Division, the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a right-wing anti-trans pressure group whose activity has been reported on in detail elsewhere, filed suit against Skaneateles Central School District in Onondaga County. In the complaint, plaintiff Jennifer Vitsaxaki alleges Skaneateles CSD allowed her child to use a chosen name and pronouns and provided the child with resources for medical transition. Vitsaxaki alleges infringement of her right to religious freedom, as well as infringement of her parental rights and consequent deprivation of liberty. She is seeking declaratory relief, damages, and attorneys’ fees.

House Bill 7187 & Senate Bill 3729

On 1 February, in the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Greg Steube (R–FL-17) filed House Bill (HR) 7187, which would prohibit governing bodies recognised by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) from allowing trans women to participate in women’s athletic events. In the Senate, Senator Tommy Tuberville (R–AL) introduced a companion bill, Senate Bill (S.) 3729 (Migdon, 2024).

New ACPeds position statement, same conga line of suckholes

On 1 February, the American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds), a United States-based anti-trans pressure group, published a position statement “Mental health in adolescents with incongruence of gender identity and biological sex” (Anderson et al., 2024). While ACPeds is transparently a pressure group with no scientific credibility, right-wing media have, naturally, picked up the story and treated it as if it had scientific validity (Bukuras, 2024a & 2024b; Foley, 2024a; Rosiak, 2024; Rudy, 2024).

NY Times platforming Pamela Paul again

On 2 February, The New York Times published an opinion article, “As kids, they thought they were trans. They no longer do,” by Pamela Paul (2024). As Erin Reed (2024b) notes in the Advocate, the article:

  • treats “rapid onset gender dysphoria” (ROGD) as real — ROGD is a thoroughly debunked junk science concept with no empirical backing (Bauer et al., 2021) which has been explicitly and repeatedly disendorsed and rejected by all major diagnostic authorities (WPATH Global Board of Directors, 2018; Coalition for the Advancement and Application of Psychological Science, 2021).
  • misrepresents the credentials and professional record of therapist Stephanie Winn to present her as credible. In reality, Winn is a conversion therapist and relatively eccentric even given that context; she has advocated the use of acupuncture to “help spark desistance” and has suggested trans men should be forced onto estrogen.
  • revives the old canard that trans people are just gay and transition is a form of conversion therapy. If this allegation were true it would be extremely ineffective conversion therapy, as the percentage of trans people who self-identify as gay, bisexual, queer, etc., is astronomically higher than the corresponding fraction among cis people (Reisner et al., 2023).
  • revives the baseless claim that 80% of self-identified trans kids “desist” — stop being trans — by the time they reach adulthood. This canard dates back to the 1980s and was manufactured for exactly this rhetorical purpose. It was manufactured by falsely classifying gay kids who never considered themselves trans as having “gender identity disorder,” the diagnostic construct used to represent transness in “scientific” study at the time; by noting that those gay kids still did not consider themselves trans at the end of the study period; and therefore immediately claiming that those kids had “desisted” (Brooks, 2018; Reed, 2023).

On 10 February, The Times published letters following up the piece (Yale et al., 2024). I could not verify the provenance of several of the letters published. One letter is noted as being from a Women’s Declaration International (WDI) organiser, but The Times does not bother to clarify that WDI is a single-purpose anti-trans pressure group (Allday, 2023; McLamore et al., 2023), allowing readers who are not deep in the weeds to make their own assumptions.

The War on Children

On 2 February, Robby Starbuck’s fascist propaganda film The War on Children premiered on Twitter. The film is best known for having been caught by Eli Erlick (2023) attempting to deceive LGBTQ+ people and allies into participating under false pretences (McCann Ramirez, 2023). At that time, the film’s external communications claimed that it aimed

to delve deeper [into] exposing how these recent drag bans and gender-affirming care bans have been made, look at how it has affected the mental health of trans people and look forward into what future progress will look and sound like.

Starbuck, in McCann Ramirez (2024)

In practice, the film was unable to secure significant usable participation from LGBTQ+ people, and instead heavily features right-wing and fascist figures including

  • Riley Gaines, a professional anti-trans activist
  • Rand Paul, the Republican Senator for Kentucky
  • Chaya Raichik, the influencer behind Libs of TikTok;
  • representatives of The Heritage Foundation, a broad pressure group with a significant record of anti-trans advocacy;
  • representatives of White Rose Resistance, an anti-abortion pressure group.

The film directly accuses several notable trans activists and medical practitioners of “grooming” children and being “pro-child mutilation” (McCann Ramirez, 2024).

Trump shills(?) for Bud Light

On 7 February, former US President Donald J. Trump, the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, published a Truth Social post advocating for right-wingers to stop the boycott of Budweiser brewers Anheuser-Busch (Trump, 2024), which was launched over an Instagram promotion for Bud Light featuring TikTok influencer Dylan Mulvaney, who is a trans woman (Foley, 2024b). The Christian Post, normally very sympathetic to Trump but more sympathetic to transphobia, speculated that the post might have been precipitated by financial links between Trump’s campaign and Anheuser-Busch (Foley, 2024b).


House Bill 2183

On 5 February, the Arizona House of Representatives passed House Bill (HB) 2183, which the Human Rights Campaign describes as “a forced outing bill that would require healthcare entities to provide access to minors’ medical records, including for services that do not require parental approval, such as emergency mental health treatment” (Wolf, 2024).

Senate Concurrent Resolution 1013

On 7 February, the Education Committee of the Arizona Senate voted 4–3 to recommend “do pass” for Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR) 1013. SCR 1013 proposes to require teachers to obtain written parental permission before using a student’s preferred pronouns or name, and mandate that schools separate their toilet facilities, locker rooms, and sleeping accommodations by assigned sex at birth, providing separate-but-equal single-occupancy alternatives for trans students (Gomez, 2024). In effect, it combines two Senate bills which failed to pass in the previous Legislature — SB 1001, which targeted correct pronoun use, and SB 1040, a bathroom bill.

If SCR 1013 is adopted by both chambers of the Arizona Legislature, the proposed measures will be placed on this November’s general election ballot as a ballot initiative, which will then need to be adopted by Arizona voters in order to become law.

Senate Bill 1066

On 7 February, the Education Accountability and Reform Committee of the Arizona Senate voted 4–3 with no abstentions to recommend “do pass” on SB 1166, which would require a public school to notify a student’s parent within 5 days of the first time their child requests the use of a name that doesn’t match the given name they were enrolled under, or pronouns that are not conventionally associated with their assigned sex at birth (Gomez, 2024).


On 16 January, the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview, a Colorado-based Christian dominionist pressure group established by Richard Nixon’s hatchet man Chuck Colson, “presented a discussion on how to think about and engage gender ideology”. Guests included Miriam Grossman, who is an anti-trans activist clinician (James, 2023), and Stephen Grcevich, with whom I am unfamiliar (Plasterer, 2024).


Florida Congressional Democrats seeking federal intervention

On 2 February, the Democratic members of Florida’s delegation to the U.S. Congress sent a joint letter to Alejandro Mayorkas, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, urging him to issue new rules on the federal Real ID Act to counter Florida’s new policy of not allowing trans people to list their correct genders on their driving licenses (Frost, 2024).

House Bill 1639

On 5 February, the Insurance & Banking Committee of the Florida House of Representatives referred HB 1639 to the House Infrastructure Strategies Committee. The ACLU of Florida says the bill “requires health plans to cover the widely discredited practice of conversion therapy and creates additional obstacles for health plans to cover gender-affirming care” (American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, 2024); the Human Rights Campaign characterises it as an “anti-transgender healthcare ban” (Wolf, op. cit.).

Prism die-in against the Kynoch memo

On 9 February, trans community advocates staged a die-in protest at driver’s license offices around Florida. Groups organising the protest included PRISM, which was the primary coordinator, as well as Equality Florida, GLSEN Central Florida, Hope CommUnity Center, SPEKTRUM Health, and the Youth Action Fund (H. Mitchell, 2024). The catalyst for the protest was the 26 January memo issued by Robert Kynoch, deputy executive director of Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, stipulating that trans people could no longer change the gender indicator on their driver’s licenses (Kynoch, 2024; H. Mitchell, op. cit.).


House Study Bill 649/House File 2389

On 1 February, in the Iowa Legislature, Governor Kim Reynolds introduced House Study Bill (HSB) 649. On 8 February, the House Education Committee approved the bill, whereupon it was renumbered House File (HF) 2389. HSB 649/HF 2389 provides that:

  • in all Iowa code, the term “sex” refers to a person’s assigned sex at birth — this would functionally terminate all legal recognition of trans people by the State of Iowa;
  • gender marker changes on state documentation such as driver’s licenses and birth certificates are only allowed for those who have a letter from a “doctor and surgeon” showing that the “sex designation has changed”;
  • only a single type of gender marker change is allowed, namely listing both assigned sex and actual gender on the license (if that gender is binary); e.g., a trans woman’s driver license might read “M–F”.

Reynolds has issued the following statement on HF 2389:

Women and men are not identical; they possess unique biological differences. That’s not controversial, it’s common sense. Just like we did with girls’ sports, this bill protects women’s spaces and rights afforded to us by Iowa law and the Constitution. It’s unfortunate that defining a woman in code has become necessary to protect spaces where women’s health, safety, and privacy are being threatened like domestic violence shelters and rape crisis centers. The bill allows the law to recognise biological differences while forbidding unfair discrimination.

Reynolds, in Searles (2024)

The bill represents a broader push to impose “separate-but-equal” facilities on trans people across the United States, a fact which it more or less admits, explicitly asserting that “separate accommodations are not inherently unequal” (Russell, 2024).

Erin Reed (2024c) notes that this bill is significantly more dangerous than previous anti-trans bills introduced in Iowa, because, as its HSB status indicates, it was introduced by the Governor, “indicating that it may have stronger backing and is considered a policy priority”.


Kobach’s bum rush

On 8 February, the office of Kris Kobach, Attorney General of Kansas, issued a media release, “School districts ‘socially transitioning’ students without parental consent, despite AG warning” (Attorney General of the State of Kansas, 2024). The release accused six unified school districts of allowing trans students to use their correct names and pronouns without notifying their parents:

  • USD 233 — Olathe, Johnson County
  • USD 266 — Maize, Sedgwick County
  • USD 357 — Belle Plaine, Sumner County
  • USD 500 — Kansas City (“KCK”), Wyandotte County
  • USD 501 — Topeka, Shawnee County
  • USD 512 — Shawnee Mission, Johnson County

It also accused the Kansas Association of School Boards (KASB) of helping to formulate policy which would facilitate the USDs’ alleged conduct (Attorney General of the State of Kansas, op. cit.)

As the Associated Press has noted (Hanna & Mulvihill, 2024), the actions of which Kobach is accusing the Unified School Districts are perfectly legal under Kansas law; he is acting without a legal basis. This is on brand for Kobach, who in 2023 managed to secure the termination of a consent order which compelled Kansas state officials to let trans Kansans update their birth certificates to reflect their gender identity (Condon, 2023).


Four pro-LGBTQ+ bills: HB 5300, 5301, 5302, and 5303

On 7 February, the Judiciary Committee of the Michigan House of Representatives held hearings on four pro-LGBTQ+ bills:

  • HB 5300, which “would allow family court to change names for individuals, including minors, upon request” (Wolf, op. cit.);
  • HB 5301, 5302, and 5303, which collectively “would allow individuals to indicate a sex designation of ‘M’, ‘F’, or ‘X’ on their applications for driver’s licenses, state identification cards and birth certificates” (Wolf, op. cit.).

Kingsley v. Wojciechowski

On 7 February, in Pontiac, Oakland County, the Michigan 50th District Court dismissed Kingsley v. Wojciechowski and countersuit. Original plaintiff Brianna Kingsley, who is trans, filed in small claims in August 2023 over original respondent William Wojciechowski’s failure to return her testicles, which had been removed during her sex reassignment surgery (SRS), plus US$6,500 in damages. Wojciechowski countersued for emotional harm over the “humiliation” inflicted on him by world media coverage of the case, seeking $6,500 in damages (Hunter, 2024).


Revised Department of Health draft rules

On 7 February, the Ohio Department of Health published a revised draft of proposed rule #3701-3-17, “Reporting gender-related condition diagnoses and gender transition care” (Ohio Department of Health, 2024).

The new draft omits language from the original draft that restricted gender-affirming care for adults. However, despite overwhelming opposition from Ohioans, the new rules still ban all medical interventions, including puberty-delaying medication, for trans people under 18 (Riedel, 2024).

South Dakota

Settlement with The Transformation Project

On 30 January, the State of South Dakota issued a letter of apology and paid a cash settlement of US$300,000 to The Transformation Project, a trans advocacy group. The settlement stems from South Dakota’s abrupt cancellation of a contract with The Transformation Project in December 2022 (Hult, 2024).


Salt Lake County misgendering incident

On 6 February, Utah State Board of Education member Natalie Cline (R–District 11) made a public Facebook post containing a flyer for the girls’ basketball team of a Salt Lake County high school, with the caption “Girls’ basketball…”, implying in context that a particular player was a trans girl (Tanner, 2024).

The 16-year-old in question is not transfem (Curtis, 2024), and now needs police protection due to threats (Tanner, op. cit.). Cline has been condemned by the student’s parents (“Parents of female student-athlete,” 2024), by Governor Spencer Cox and Lieutenant Governor Deirdre Henderson, both Republicans (Cox, 2024), and by the Utah Democratic Party (Utah House Democrats, 2024). The Board of Education has also condemned Cline (Utah State Board of Education, 2024), who has been the subject of previous internal proceedings for anti-trans hatred (Cortez, 2021; Houck, 2023); however, regardless of the outcome of any additional proceedings, the Board does not have the power to expel her (Utah State Board of Education, op. cit.). Cline, for her part, shared an “apology” (Cline, 2024) but continued to discuss the 16-year-old student’s body and did not allow comments on the post.

Utah State Rep. Kera Birkeland, the architect of HB 11 of 2022, which upon passage de facto banned trans girls from participation in high school sports, also commented on the original post — demanding that Cline take it down, oddly enough. In the process of doing so, she quoted an apparent figure for how many trans kids have sought clearance to play in Utah. Disclosing such a figure is a criminal offence per Utah Code § 63G-2-801(1)(a) (Tanner, op. cit.; Tanner & Stern, 2024). Whether Birkeland will face charges is, of course, unclear.


ETSI health clinic opens in Portsmouth

In the week of 4 February, the ETSI (Ending Transmission of Sexual Infections) Health Clinic opened in downtown Portsmouth. The clinic, which is funded by the Virginia Department of Health and pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences, Inc., will offer, at no cost:

  • hormone therapy;
  • human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing as well as treatment;
  • mental health services, through referrals and an on-site psychologist;
  • substance abuse services and referrals (Payne, 2024).

If you would like me to correct an error, you have additional information, or you think there’s a story I should keep an eye on, please feel free to contact me. If you found this informative or useful in any way, please consider supporting my work via Patreon, Ko-fi, or PayPal.

Note, 12 February 2024: Updated to reflect that Penny Mordaunt MP is the leader of the British House of Commons. Thanks Emma (@hasrock36)!


A Bill to modify eligibility requirements for amateur sports governing organizations, HR 7187, 118th United States Congress (2024). No text available at date.

A Bill to modify eligibility requirements for amateur sports governing organizations, S 3729, 118th United States Congress (2024). No text available at date.

A bill for an act relating to the term sex and related terms for purposes of statutory construction (etc.), Iowa HF 2389, 90th Iowa General Assembly (2024).

A bill for an act relating to the term sex and related terms for purposes of statutory construction (etc.), Iowa HSB 649, 90th Iowa General Assembly (2024).

A bill to amend 1939 PA 288, entitled “Probate code of 1939” (etc.), Michigan HB 5300, 102nd Michigan Legislature (2024).

A bill to amend 1949 PA 300, entitled “Michigan vehicle code” (etc.), Michigan HB 5301, 102nd Michigan Legislature (2024).

A bill to amend 1972 PA 222 (etc.), Michigan HB 5302, 102nd Michigan Legislature (2024).

A bill to amend 1978 PA 368, entitled “Public health code” (etc.), Michigan HB 5303, 102nd Michigan Legislature (2024).

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An act amending Title 15, Chapter 1, Article 1, Arizona Revised Statutes by adding Section 15-120.05; relating to public schools, Arizona SB 1166, Second Regular Session, 56th Arizona Legislature (2024).

An Act amending Section 1-602, Arizona Revised Statutes; relating to parents’ rights, Arizona HB 2183, Second Regular Session, 56th Arizona Legislature (2024).

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