Claire J. Starrs
WELCOME TO OUR NEW MULTICULTURAL & DIVERSITY SECTION SPOTLIGHT FEATURE. We hope that it can constitute a starting point for a deeper dive into important issues currently making headlines, that directly impact multicultural and diverse populations. In that vein, we have only included publications that are not behind a paywall or that necessitate a university library affiliation. The topic for this summer’s issue is the current rise in anti-trans/LGBTQ+ legislation.
There has been a gradual but steady creep of anti-transgender/LGBTQ+ legislation being passed in multiple US states in the last few years. A growing body of research identifies high depression and suicidality within gender and sexual minorities, especially the transgender community; this distress is most often linked to interpersonal trauma and minority stress (e.g., House, Van Horn, Coppeans, & Stepleman, 2011; Virupaksha, Muralidhar, & Ramakrishna, 2016; Chinazzo, Lobato, Nardi, Koller, Saadeh, & Costa, 2021). The ongoing campaign to erode LGBTQ+ rights raises serious concerns related to increased marginalization, discrimination and resultant health and mental health impacts. Furthermore, recent bills have chiefly focused on trans youth, a population already at high-risk of experiencing discrimination and trauma (e.g., Norris & Orchowski, 2020). Bills have targeted such issues as access to gender-affirming healthcare (e.g., April 2022: Alabama’s SB184, Vulnerable Child Protection Act, which states that anyone providing gender-affirming care to someone under the age of 19 can be convicted of a Class C felony), trans-athletes (e.g., March 2022: Kansas Senate Bill 208 that bans participation in sports consistent with gender identity from elementary to university level), school bathroom bills (e.g., May 2022: Oklahoma’s SB615 requires students in public schools and public charter schools to use the restrooms and changing rooms designated for the gender on their original birth certificate), and curriculum content (e.g., March 2022: Florida’s SB184, the Parental Rights in Education Bill, colloquially known as the “Don’t say gay bill” which prohibits classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity for students in kindergarten through third grade).