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HB 2161, SB 1138, SB 1165 and HB 2495 updates

This Friday, March 25 is the deadline for bills to be heard in committee this Arizona Legislative Session. Eighteen bills were introduced this session that threatened LGBTQ+ rights, and while fewer remain, they are still causes of great concern.

There is still time to show opposition to these bills in the state’s Request to Speak system or by contacting your representatives.

We are also looking for written and recorded testimony opposing any of the following bills. Please reach out or send a video to Sean at:

Below is a list of the bills we are still watching closely:

HB 2161: A previous version of this bill would have, among other things, forced teachers to out LGBTQ+ youth to their parents or risk de-certification. Thankfully, an amendment introduced by Representative Steve Kaiser and approved by the committee has removed the parts of the bills that posed concerns for LGBTQ+ students.

We would like to thank Representative Kaiser, who worked in good faith with stakeholders in our community to make this latest amendment happen, and we are grateful for that thoughtful and considerate approach to policymaking.

SB 1138: This bill was first introduced as a comprehensive ban on gender-affirming care for trans youth. After initially failing in committee, Senator Pace then introduced a strike-everything amendment that narrowed the focus of the ban to “irreversible gender reassignment surgery.” We are opposing this unnecessary bill because it bans all gender-affirming surgery, even those deemed safe and appropriate for patients under the age of 18 according to the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH).

This bill has been cleared to move to the floor for debate in the committee of the whole. Visit our site for talking points and email templates for SB1138 & SB1165

SB 1165: This bill will ban trans girls from participating in girls’ sports. Participating in sports has several benefits including better mental and physical health outcomes, opportunities to make friends, and to build important life skills. The validity of trans identities is well supported by science. Forcing trans girls to play on boys' teams is humiliating, invalidating, and will cause emotional distress and harm. Additionally, this bill will threaten all girls, including cisgender girls. This bill will increase scrutiny over bodies to determine who is transgender, which will increase bullying towards any student who is has a gender nonconforming gender expression.

SB 1165 has received a Do Pass recommendation from the House Judiciary committee meeting and will be headed to the committee of the whole.Visit our site for talking points and email templates for SB1138 & SB1165

HB 2495: Framed as a ban on pornography in schools, this bill’s definition of sexually explicit material is so broad that it includes all “textual, visual, and audio materials” that depict “sexual conduct,” “sexual excitement,” or “ultimate sexual acts.” While an amendment has been added to make an exception for “classical” books, “early American literature” and any “required book for a course to obtain college credit,” in practice, this bill will censor LGBTQ+ stories from both history and literature, and do overall damage to the kinds of stories and ideas taught in schools. An original version of the bill, since amended, included explicitly banning depictions of “homosexuality,” a clear indication of the bill's intent.

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