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 Dakota, Tennessee, 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:
- 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.
- HB 648: would ban gender affirming care for transgender youth
- 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.
- 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:
- 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
- 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
- LB 574: prohibits transgender youth from receiving age-appropriate, best practice gender affirming healthcare and will also prohibit abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy
- 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:
- 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
- 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
- HB 648: would ban gender affirming care for transgender youth
- HB 466: would impose a “Don’t Say LGBTQ+” style curriculum censorship law
- SB 39: would ban transgender students from participating in school sports
- SB 49: would ban gender affirming care for transgender youth
- 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.”
- 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