Media Contact

Alyssa Mauk, ACLU of Wisconsin Director of Communications,

October 12, 2023

MADISON — The Wisconsin State Assembly today passed Assembly Bills 377, 378, and 465 — three pieces of legislation that would exclude K-12 and collegiate trans student athletes from joining sports teams consistent with their identified gender and bar all trans youth from accessing medically necessary gender-affirming healthcare. 

Dr. Melinda Brennan, executive director of the ACLU of Wisconsin, said the following:

“All young people deserve to feel supported, valued and cared for, but the assembly representatives who voted in favor of these bills today sent a message to trans youth that they are the exception. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. 

Last week, we saw an outpouring of support from Wisconsinites who gathered at the Capitol to show up for trans youth and forcefully oppose these legislative attacks. It was a powerful demonstration of love and solidarity, as people spent all day speaking out, spreading joy, and celebrating trans life. Trans people are loved and belong in school, sports, and every community, everywhere.

We know that this type of legislation, even when it doesn’t become law, causes real harm to trans youth and their families. Transgender youth who are affirmed in their gender do better in school, feel safer in their communities, establish healthier relationships with their parents and peers, and are better equipped to plan for their future. In contrast, denying them this support increases their likelihood of dropping out of school, increases their risk for substance use, worsens symptoms of depression and anxiety, and gravely increases their risk for suicide.

Life’s problems don’t come from being trans — they come from barriers to living openly and authentically. If politicians want to help youth, they need to make sure young people know that they belong, can pursue the activities they enjoy, have access to the healthcare they need, see themselves reflected in their books and curriculum, and — like everyone — feel respected for who they are.

The State Senate also held a hearing today on the gender-affirming healthcare ban. We hope our Senators choose to protect trans youth by stopping this legislation in its tracks.” 

A survey found that 85% of trans and nonbinary youth report that facing ongoing political attacks has been detrimental to their mental health, according to the Trevor Project. Additionally, the Trevor Project found that nearly 1 in 5 transgender and nonbinary youth attempted suicide, with even higher rates for youth of color, in 2022. LGBTQ  youth who felt high social support from their families attempted suicide at less than half the rate of those who felt moderate or low degrees of social support.