Thursday, February 29, 2024
PoliticsTravel

Before you travel, be aware of these anti-LGBTQ bills

We don’t believe in bans or boycotts, but we do believe in situational awareness and socio-political sensitivity. Here is the current situation for anti-LGBTQ legislation around the U.S.

As extremist lawmakers in state houses across the country continue advancing a record-breaking number of anti-LGBTQ+ bills in state legislatures, the Human Rights Campaign — the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — is providing the below snapshot (updated weekly) to illustrate the hostile legislative climate facing LGBTQ+ people, and the scale and scope with which the ongoing legislative assault is being waged.  

This weaponization of public policy has been driven by extremist groups that have a long history in working to oppress the existence and rights of LGBTQ+ people. Several of these organizations have been deemed hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center, such as the Alliance Defending Freedom and the Family Research Council.  

Year-to-Date Snapshot: 2023 Anti-LGBTQ+ State Legislative Activity  

  • Over 520 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been introduced in state legislatures, a record;
  • Over 220 bills specifically target transgender and non-binary people, also a record; and 
  • A record 70 anti-LGBTQ laws have been enacted so far this year, including:
    • Laws banning gender affirming care for transgender youth: 15
    • Laws requiring or allowing misgendering of transgender students: 7
    • Laws targeting drag performances: 2
    • Laws creating a license to discriminate: 3
    • Laws censoring school curriculum, including books: 4 

Notable 2023 Trends & Topline Analysis 

  • There have been more anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced in state houses this year than in each of the previous five years; with the increase in LGBTQ Erasure bills, bills that strip away dozens of legal protections and rights for LGBTQ+ people, coming as the newest form of attacks on the community 
  • More than 125 bills would prevent trans youth from being able to access age-appropriate, medically-necessary, best-practice health care, in addition to more than 45 bills banning transgender students from playing school sports and more than 30 “bathroom bills,” a figure that exceeds the number bathroom bills filed in any previous year. 
  • Some states that have been the most aggressive in advancing anti-LGBTQ+ laws include Florida,  North DakotaTennessee, and Texas
States where anti-LGBTQ bills have advanced this year

More than 145 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have passed at least one chamber this calendar year.  Some notable bills that advanced this past week or may advance this week include:  

  • Arizona:
    • SB 1040: would ban trans students and school personnel from using school restrooms that match their gender identity and allows people to sue schools if they share a restroom or similar school facility with a trans person.
  • Louisiana:
    • HB 648: would ban gender affirming care for transgender youth
  • Ohio:
    • HB 6: would prohibit transgender students from participating in school sports
    • SB 83: would restrict diversity, equity, and inclusion programs or trainings
  • South Carolina:
    • H. 3728: would censor curriculum and prohibit schools from requiring gender or sexual diversity counseling or training for students and staff. 
  • Texas:
    • SB 17: would prohibit diversity, equity, and inclusion offices at state colleges and universities
    • SB 12: would criminalize drag performances
The following bills have additionally been enacted into law:
  • Florida:
    • HB 1069: silences educators by prohibiting any instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity from Pre-K through 8th grade, expanding the “Don’t Say LGBTQ+ Law” passed last year
    • SB 254:  penalizes providers by inflicting criminal penalties (including felony penalties) on providers who give gender-affirming care; takes licenses away from those providers; and it prohibits Medicare from covering gender-affirming care for transgender youth or adults. It also forbids public funds, including those of a public university, public hospital, city, or county, and Medicare, from being used to provide benefits that include gender-affirming care – for transgender people of all ages. And – uniquely – it allows the state to use gender-affirming care or the “risk” of such care for a child as a reason to give Florida family courts exceptional jurisdiction to set aside another state’s custody determination
    • HB 1521: would criminalize transgender people for using the restroom that matches their gender identity
  • Montana:
    • SB 518: allows schools to misgender and forcibly out transgender and non-binary students
    • SB 458: LGBTQ+ Erasure  bill, adopts an anti-LGBTQ definition of “sex” that now impacts the entirety of Montana law
    • HB 676: allows parents to withdraw students from public school if they disagree with the lesson plan of the day
  • Nebraska:
    • LB 574: prohibits transgender youth from receiving age-appropriate, best practice gender affirming healthcare and will also prohibit abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy
  • Tennessee:
    • HB 239: LGBTQ+ Erasure  bill,establishes an anti-LGBTQ definition of “sex” in state statute
    • HB 158: prohibits public education institutions from requiring implicit bias trainings
    • HB 1269: allows for the intentional misgendering and deadnaming of transgender and non-binary students by their teachers 
Additional bills that are in the final stages in the legislature or are awaiting signature from the state’s governor:  
  • Florida:
    • SB 170: would discourage cities from passing non-discrimination ordinances by raising the barriers to proposing ordinances and making it easier to challenge ordinances in court
  • Iowa:
    • SF 496: would ban classroom discussions that touch on LGBTQ+ topics in grades K-6, and would also require schools to forcibly out transgender students
    • SF 391/HF 327: would censor info about HIV and AIDS from required curriculum standards
  • Louisiana:
    • HB 648: would ban gender affirming care for transgender youth
    • HB 466: would impose a “Don’t Say LGBTQ+” style curriculum censorship law
  • Missouri:
    • SB 39: would ban transgender students from participating in school sports
    • SB 49: would ban gender affirming care for transgender youth
  • Texas:
    • SB 14: would ban gender affirming care for transgender youth
    • SB 15: would prohibit transgender students from participating in sports at public universities
    • SB 763: would allow for chaplains to serve as public school counselors 

Public Opinion Roundup: Recent LGBTQ+ Polling

A polling memo released recently by the Human Rights Campaign highlights a series of recent national polls revealing that Americans are growing increasingly opposed to anti-LGBTQ+ legislation sweeping through state houses, finding the push excessive and nothing more than “political theater.” 

Key Points:

  • ANTI-LGBTQ+ BILLS — 64% of all likely voters think there is “too much legislation” aimed at “limiting the rights of transgender and gay people in America” — including 72% of Democrats, 65% of Independents, and 55% of Republicans [source].
  • GENDER AFFIRMING CARE — Two recent national surveys report opposition to bans on gender affirming care — one indicating 54% opposition [source] and the other indicating 53% opposition [source].
  • DRAG BANS — Nearly six in 10 (58%) Americans oppose laws that would restrict drag shows or performances in their state, while 39% support legislation to restrict these performances. While 61% of Republicans are in favor of these bans, 73% of Democrats and 57% of Independents oppose the proposed limitations [source].
  • BOOK & CURRICULUM BANS — Majorities disapprove of banning LGBTQ+ content in schools — nearly 60% of Americans believe middle school libraries should include materials related to “gender identity” and “sexual orientation” [source

Looking Back at the 2022 State Legislative Sessions 

In a coordinated push led by national anti-LGBTQ+ groups, which deployed vintage discriminatory tropes, politicians in statehouses across the country introduced 315 discriminatory anti-LGBTQ+ bills in 2022 and 29 passed into law. Despite this, fewer than 10% of these efforts succeeded. The majority of the discriminatory bills – 149 bills – targeted the transgender and non-binary community, with the majority targeting children receiving the brunt of discriminatory legislation. By the end of the 2022 legislative session, a record 17 bills attacking transgender and non-binary children passed into law.  

Anti-LGBTQ+ legislation took several forms, including: 

  • 80 bills aimed to prevent transgender youth from playing school sports consistent with their gender identity. 19 states now exclude transgender athletes in school sports. 
  • 42 bills to prevent transgender and non-binary youth from receiving life-saving, medically-necessary gender-affirming healthcare. 5 states now restrict access to gender-affirming care. 
  • 70 curriculum censorship bills tried to turn back the clock and restrict teachers from discussing LGBTQ+ issues and other marginalized communities in their classrooms. 7 passed into law.
  • Source: HRC

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