Idaho’s branch of the Party for Socialism and Liberation held a rally on Saturday, March 4 at 3:30 p.m. in protest of House Bill 71, which recently passed the Idaho House of Representatives and is waiting on a vote in the senate.
H.B. 71 is Idaho’s attempt to ban gender-affirming healthcare for transgender youth across the state. The bill, titled the “Child Protection Act,” would make it a felony for healthcare practitioners or parents to provide/consent to gender-affirming care for anyone under the age of 18.
If passed, all gender-affirming care for youth, including hormone therapy, puberty blockers and surgery would be punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Over 100 people showed up to City Hall to protest the passage of H.B. 71, and several members of the Party for Socialism and Liberation spoke at the event before opening the mic to the crowd.
Member Lyle McCormick spoke of the parallels between this protest and one that the organization held against a nearly identical bill last spring.
“Last year we were out here protesting similar legislation — it didn’t pass then and with enough public pressure, it won’t pass now,” McCormick said to the crowd. “To win that world all working people, transgender and cisgender alike, must unite and fight side by side against all forms of bigotry, oppression, exploitation and ultimately for a socialist system.”
Between each speaker the crowd, made up of everyone from middle schoolers to senior citizens, would yell chants together such as “Out of the closets, into the streets” and “When trans lives are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back!” The chants were regularly met with supportive honks and cheers from the cars passing by.
Morrighan Nyx, who has been working with the Party for Socialism and Liberation for over five years, helped to organize the rally.
“We are seeing attacks like this across the country right now and what we have to understand is that these attacks on the rights of trans youth are not individualized, they don’t start and end with trans youth,” Nyx said. “A long term goal of these campaigns is not just to ban transition care for trans youth but to eliminate transition care entirely.”
The crowd stayed gathered for nearly two hours as different members of the community got up to tell stories of how gender-affirming care saved their life or how someone they know would be harmed by the passage of this bill.
H.B. 71 is just one of a handful of bills introduced this session that are meant to limit, or eliminate, the rights of trans and other LGBTQ+ individuals in Idaho, such as Senate Bill 1100 which would require that all public schools separate bathrooms and locker rooms by “biological sex.”
“The primary goal with this event is to show that this legislature is not supported by the people of the Treasure Valley, of Idaho or of the United States,” Nyx said. “These are fundamental attacks on the rights of LGBTQ people and an attack on one group is an attack on all of us.”