URGENT: Reject anti-trans bills in Maine. Hearing Today, May 6!

8 mins read

Hello friends,

When we held our allyship training in March with MaineTransNet, we learned about several anti-trans bills Maine legislators were planning to introduce this year. Those bills have a public hearing at 9 am this Thursday, May 6. We’ve put together some information on the bills, directions for how to submit your written testimony, and a link to our new Guide for Trans Allies. This email is long, but includes critical info about all 3 bills and why we need you to submit written testimony for all of them. We suspect that these bills are just the beginning of new efforts to target transgender people in Maine. It is vital that we make it clear that Mainers support trans rights!

In solidarity,
The Suit Up Maine Admin Team


 BACKGROUND

The three bills in Maine, part of a coordinated national attack led by anti-LGBTQ hate groups, could eliminate trans girls’ and women’s access to private emergency shelters and girls’ and women’s athletics at all Maine schools. Bill sponsors claim that trans women and girls are a threat to others in emergency shelters, even though there is no evidence of that, and in girls’ and women’s sports, even though trans girls and women have played on female athletics teams in Maine and nationally for nearly a decade. Although much attention has been paid to the sports bills, the shelter bill is equally concerning to trans advocates. That bill, LD 1238 introduced by Sen. Lisa Keim (R-Oxford), would alter the language of the Maine Human Rights Act to exclude private emergency shelters from the non-discrimination law, allowing shelters to deny entry to trans girls and women in crisis. Transgender people are nearly twice as likely as cisgender people to experience intimate partner violence and nearly one-third of trans people experience homelessness during their lifetime, including 36% of trans people in Maine. Trans girls and women already struggle to access emergency shelter when they need it. This bill could eliminate that option altogether. 

WHAT THIS IS REALLY ABOUT

Make no mistake: This isn’t about shelters or sports. It’s about erasing trans people, especially trans girls and women. Sen. Keim and others are employing the same arguments used by those who won a recent court challenge in the UK to block gender-affirming health care for trans children, twisting the truth to appeal to progressives by convincing them that you can’t protect the rights of transgender girls and women AND cisgender girls and women at the same time. It’s a thin argument coming from people who have spent decades trying to strip reproductive rights. And it’s simply not true. Sen. Keim, who has signed onto a national anti-LGBTQ campaign sponsored by a known hate group to advance legislation like the bills in Maine, and other bill sponsors surely know these bills are unlikely to pass in the current Legislature. So why bother? That is an important question, one that points to a different end game that is not yet clear. And that’s where you come in. 

WHY WE MUST ACT NOW

If anti-trans supporters are merely testing the water of public opinion by introducing hateful legislation they know has no chance for success, we have to demonstrate unequivocally that Mainers reject discrimination in the Legislature and anywhere else they attempt to raise it down the road. We need you to submit testimony opposing BOTH the sports ban (LD 926 and LD 1401) and the shelter ban (LD 1238). Luckily, we’ve got what you need to do that in our Legislature Roundup. We’re also happy to unveil our new Guide for Trans Allies, where you can learn more about the coordinated national attack targeting transgender children and adults, what you can do to push back, and how to better support trans people as strong allies. 

TESTIMONY TIPS

Write one piece of testimony opposing the shelter ban bill, LD 1238. Write one piece of testimony opposing the sports ban bills, LD 926 and LD 1401. You will submit this testimony under both bills (see instructions below). Your testimony doesn’t need to be long and it doesn’t have to include stats (although if you want stats, you can find them in our bill brief). Just write it from the heart. Be sure to include the bill numbers in your written testimony, and include your name and town. If possible, submit your testimony before Tuesday’s hearing! After you’ve submitted your testimony, email it to your legislators! Find them and their contact info here. 

SUBMIT YOUR TESTIMONY  

Visit the Legislature’s testimony submission portal. Select public hearing. Select Judiciary Committee. Select May 6 at 9 AM. Select LD 1238. Upload your testimony. Enter the required contact information. Select the “I am not a robot” captcha. Select Submit/Register. Repeat this process with your testimony against sports bans under both LD 926 and LD 1401. (so a total of 3 submissions for all bills). If you would like to deliver one or more of your testimonies live, check the “I would like to present my testimony live” box and you will receive an email with a Zoom link for the hearing at 9 am Thursday. When the clerk calls your name, you will have 3 minutes to read your testimony. This hearing could take a while so if you can only submit written testimony, that is fine!

On our website you’ll also find: Maine Legislature Roundup: A legislative tracker for the current session. Actions: Calls to action on a range of issues. Letter to the Editor Guide: Tips on writing LTEs and a list of Maine newspapers that accept them. Statements, Op-Eds, and Testimony: Legislative testimony, guest editorials, and statements from our admin team. Top Events: A list of upcoming progressive events across the state. Guides & Explainers: Resources on complex topics. Civic Dashboard: Contact info for your elected officials, tutorials on the legislative process, and more.You can find more of our actions on our Facebook and Twitter pages. 


DemCast is an advocacy-based 501(c)4 nonprofit. We have made the decision to build a media site free of outside influence. There are no ads. We do not get paid for clicks. If you appreciate our content, please consider a small monthly donation.


Suit Up Maine is a statewide, all-volunteer, progressive, grassroots group of more than 5,400 Mainers that seeks to create and foster a more informed and engaged electorate. We raise awareness of and advocate for policies and legislation that promote equity and equality in civil rights, social justice, health care, the environment, education, the economy, and other areas that affect the lives of all people. We are beholden to issues and action, not parties or politicians, and we aren’t engaged in fundraising. Suit Up Maine fosters collaboration among our state’s progressive groups and organizations to collectively connect, educate, and motivate Mainers to rise in non-violent resistance to a regressive agenda.

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