What the GOP candidates have said about transgender rights

Over the last three years, the US has seen a record number of anti-transgender laws passed in states – restricting, and sometimes criminalising, youth access to gender-affirming care, diminishing trans visibility in classrooms and limiting participation in athletics.

So far in 2023, there have been over 566 anti-transgender bills introduced in government, according to a trans legislation tracker. Of that, 83 have passed and 358 are ongoing.

The mounting legislation is largely the result of a campaign by conservatives to create false narratives vilifying transgender people, as they seek to maintain a stronghold over their constituents.

Most likely, the 2024 Republican nominee for president will share similar rhetoric to other anti-transgender rights politicians.

Here’s what each GOP presidential candidate has said about transgender rights to date.

While in office, Donald Trump rolled back a slew of rights protecting transgender people.

This included axing policies that allowed trans people to serve in the military and that protected trans patients from discrimination by doctors, hospitals and health insurance companies.

But if he were re-elected, Mr Trump has promised to go even further by punishing doctors and hospitals for providing gender-affirming care to minors which includes revoking Medicaid and Medicare qualifications.

The former president has also repeatedly mocked transgender athletes during speeches.

As governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis has rapidly implemented some of the most aggressive anti-transgender legislation seen across the US.

In May, the Florida governor signed a bill banning children from undergoing gender-affirming medical care and criminalising medical providers who offer it to patients.

The bill also allows transgender children to be taken from their parents and placed into state custody should parents try to seek gender-affirming care.

Mr DeSantis has called gender-affirming care “mutilation” and “wrong” saying that “it has no place in our society”.

Last year, Mr DeSantis also notably spearheaded a bill, nicknamed the “Don’t Say Gay” law, that prohibits the discussion of sex or gender in schools – including a child’s preferred pronouns.

Despite his action and rhetoric, when Mr DeSantis was questioned about what he would do if his child was gay or transgender, he responded: “Well, my children are my children… We’ll leave that – we’ll leave that between my wife and I.”

Republican presidential candidate former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley speaks to guests at Ashley’s BBQ Bash

Nikki Haley has repeatedly denounced transgender female athletes competing on sports teams consistent with their gender identity, calling it “the women’s issue of our time”.

The former South Carolina governor and United Nations ambassador went as far as to accuse transgender athletes of contributing to “a third of our teenage girls seriously [contemplating] suicide last year.”

Ms Haley told ABC News 4 in May that she opposes gender-affirming healthcare for minors saying: “You shouldn’t allow a child to have gender-changing procedure until the age of 18 when they are an adult and they can make that decision.”

She added: “We shouldn’t have taxpayer dollars going to that.”

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks at an event hosted by Conservative radio host Erick Erickson

Republican presidential candidate, former Vice President Mike Pence delivers remarks at the Christians United for Israel

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