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NH Child Advocate voices opposition to bills targeting rights of trans youth

NH Child Advocate Cassandra Sanchez speaks at a news conference Tuesday with other advocates opposed to bills they say would harm LGBTQ+ youth in the state. Paul Cuno-Booth photo.
Paul Cuno-Booth
/
NHPR
NH Child Advocate Cassandra Sanchez speaks at a news conference Tuesday with other advocates opposed to bills they say would harm LGBTQ+ youth in the state. Paul Cuno-Booth photo.

New Hampshire’s independent child advocate is opposing a set of Republican-backed bills that she says would harm LGBTQ+ youth.

State lawmakers have put forward a series of bills this year targeting transgender students’ access to school sports, bathrooms and gender-affirming medical care, and requiring schools to disclose information about sexual orientation or gender identity to parents who ask.

At a news conference Tuesday, New Hampshire Child Advocate Cassandra Sanchez – a state-appointed watchdog charged with protecting the interests of children – said such measures would undermine the health and safety of LGBTQ+ youth.

Sanchez said many LGBTQ+ youth already struggle with their mental health, and warned these kinds of bills could make that worse.

“From limiting inclusive athletic participation or use of gender-aligning bathrooms to bans on affirming health care and forced outing of students to their parents, these bills not only dehumanize our LGBTQ plus residents, but they also single out an already vulnerable population,” she said.

Sanchez said she intends to raise those concerns with Gov. Chris Sununu if any of the bills reach his desk.

The New Hampshire Senate is expected to vote Friday on a bill that would require teachers to answer “written inquiries” from parents about their children. Critics say that could force schools to out LGBTQ+ students to their parents against their will.

The Senate will also vote on bills that would bar transgender girls from playing on girls’ sports teams, and change state nondiscrimination law so that public and private entities could restrict trans people from using bathrooms that align with their gender identity. Similar bills passed the House earlier this year.

Sanchez was joined at Tuesday’s press conference by more than two dozen other advocates opposed to the bills, including medical and mental health professionals, social service providers and transgender Granite Staters and their families.

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Paul Cuno-Booth covers health and equity for NHPR. He previously worked as a reporter and editor for The Keene Sentinel, where he wrote about police accountability, local government and a range of other topics. He can be reached at pcuno-booth@nhpr.org.
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