Anti-Trans Bills are impacting Francis Lewis College Decisions

Republicans have been on a spree of proposing and passing anti-trans legislation. Although this legislation is primarily coming from Republican states, these laws can very well make their way up to the Supreme Court. Gaging the makeup of the court, they can roll back LGBTQ progress, causing LGBTQ people to lose more rights. This wave has impacted the lives of people all over Francis Lewis Highschool and has played a big part in college decisions. 

“Anti-trans legislation should not even exist right now. It’s 2023, and the fact that we’re going backward makes no sense,” said Arisha Chowdhury, a student from Francis Lewis High School. “All because we have legislators across the country pouring their religious values into our government.” 

This is a clear violation of the civil rights of transgender people and also a complete violation of the separation of church and state.

But the Republican electorate doesn’t meet eye to eye with the foundation of our secular government, with 61% of Republicans wanting the U.S. to be a Christian Theocracy. Although their ideas are in the minority, Republicans have taken action to persecute LGBTQ and specifically trans individuals. This has been the reason why students in Francis Lewis High School have been more hesitant to attend college out of state, especially more LGBTQ-hostile ones.

“I stayed in New York [because] I know in New York, I’ll be safe because of the fact that there’s [not as much legislation] against [the] LGBTQ community,” said Ariana Afzali a student at Francis Lewis High School. She was not the first person to echo this sentiment as well.

“I did not wanna go to a school where they’re not open-minded or they have openly discriminated against LGBTQ individuals or people of color,” said Arisha Chowdhury when asked if the onslaught of anti-LGBTQ legislation factored into her college decision process. “Finding a school that is very open to [working towards] diversity inclusion was honestly the number one factor in my college decision process.” 

Often time, how a student fits in with the college environment is a large factor in determining attendance. According to a poll from Gallup, 20% of Generation-Z identifies as LGBTQ. When officials in Florida release bills that are actively going against LGBTQ people, they potentially alienate 20% of a generation. 

According to WFLA, a news channel based in Tampa, “Florida’s college enrollment levels are down 4.5% since August 2022. After hitting a peak of more than 19,500 students enrolled in the Florida College System in the 2020-2021 school year.” Although this trend may not be directly related to the anti-LGBTQ legislation passed, it’s worth considering that it may have been a factor.

The issue that arises from this is when another state copies what works in another state and the case goes to court. If this makes its way up the court system, this poses a serious First Amendment issue. Additionally, the makeup of the court puts into question if they would rule based on what is stated in the Constitution or not.

Although we may not have the power to vote in other states, we can still take action to make sure this doesn’t happen to our community by voting. Although this is not a failproof method, this will be enough to delay this Anti-LGBTQ legislation from reaching us and protecting our LGBTQ youth.