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California Bans State-Funded Travel to Red States, Citing 'Wave of Bigotry and Discrimination'

AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

On Monday, California’s attorney general forbade state-funded travel to five more states, citing an “unprecedented wave of bigotry and discrimination” against people who identify as LGBT. The new policy sent a rebuke to conservative Republicans who have moved to protect fairness in women’s sports and to protect children from experimental transgender “treatments” that arguably constitute chemical castration.

“Make no mistake: We’re in the midst of an unprecedented wave of bigotry and discrimination in this country – and the State of California is not going to support it,” Attorney General Bob Bonta (D-Calif.) said in a statement.

Bonta added five more states — Arkansas, Florida, Montana, North Dakota, and West Virginia — to the list of places where state employees cannot travel on the public dime. Bonta banned state-funded travel to these states on the ground that they “discriminate” against the LGBT community. State employees cannot travel to these states except for special circumstances.

In 2016, California lawmakers banned non-essential travel to other states with supposedly anti-LGBT laws. The 12 states on the list before Monday are: Alabama, Kansas, Kentucky, Idaho, Iowa, Oklahoma, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas.

The five newly added states have introduced or signed bills that prevent biological males who identify as female from competing against females in women’s sports and bills that prevent the administration of so-called “puberty blockers” and cross-sex hormones on children. Last year, Britain’s High Court ruled that children under age 16 lack the ability to consent to “puberty-blocking” drugs and cross-sex hormones that have irreversible life-long effects. Children who undergo such “treatments” often persist in transgender identity and lose their ability to have children later in life.

Bonta framed these laws as attacks on “trans youth,” rather than commonsense approaches to protect children and fairness in women’s sports.

The lawmakers “would rather demonize trans youth than focus on solving real issues like tackling gun violence beating back this pandemic and rebuilding our economy,” Bonta argued.

State law has exemptions for some trips, including travel that is necessary to enforce California law and to honor contracts signed before states were added to the list. Travel to conferences or out-of-state training, however, are forbidden under the law.

Related: You’re LGBT? No One Cares Except the Left

This ban seems mostly a symbolic gesture, but California is using the state government to send an activist message. There are extremely good reasons to defend fairness in women’s sports and to defend kids from chemical castration — reasons that have nothing to do with hate or bigotry. However, Bonta appears utterly blind to the facts of biology. He seems set on defending transgender orthodoxy at the expense of comity with other states.