The Fight Against Anti-LGBTQ+ Extremism A Look Ahead at the 2024 State Legislative Session

Last year, for the first time in our history, the Human Rights Campaign declared a national state of emergency for LGBTQ+ Americans in recognition of the record-breaking number of anti-LGBTQ+ bills signed into law. Across the country, anti-LGBTQ+ legislators are taking their marching orders from extremist groups such as the Alliance Defending Freedom and Moms for Liberty, as well as former President Donald Trump's MAGA political movement, and are determined to tell their LGBTQ+ constituents that they should not be seen nor heard, nor even exist.

The harms of these bills include increased stigma and violence against LGBTQ+ people, a codification of discrimination under the law, and severe negative impacts on LGBTQ+ people's mental and physical health. Even debates about these bills cause enormous harm, dividing communities and even forcing families to leave their home states as political refugees. Despite this devastating impact, the 2023 legislative session saw HRC work with our partners and supporters to defeat about 85% of anti-LGBTQ+ bills. Although the 2024 legislative session promises to continue these devastating attacks, HRC is more committed and more energized than ever in our fight for LGBTQ+ equality.

Our Rights are at Stake

Extremist state legislators are determined to endanger the health and safety of LGBTQ+ Americans, as well as prevent us from living authentically in public. We anticipate that 2024 will see a spread of last year’s discriminatory policies, with many states attempting to adopt local versions of anti-LGBTQ+ bills already passed into law in other states. This includes anti-trans sports bans, gender-affirming healthcare bans, bathroom bills and “Don’t Say LGBTQ+” style legislation. We’ve also seen the introduction of new types of attacks and an increased boldness on behalf of legislators to target healthcare for LGBTQ+ adults.

Our Healthcare is at Risk

State legislators are determined to continue attacking healthcare for transgender and non-binary youth and have even begun targeting healthcare for transgender and non-binary adults. Over a third of transgender and non-binary youth live in states that have passed bans on gender-affirming healthcare with additional states expected to introduce bans this year. Legislatures have also increasingly sought to introduce onerous, medically unnecessary restrictions on care for transgender adults. In a leaked audio, state legislators from Ohio and Michigan revealed that their “endgame” is to ban all gender-affirming healthcare for youth and adults alike. Additionally, religious refusal bills have been introduced which threaten the health and safety of all LGBTQ+ people by allowing healthcare providers to refuse to provide any sort of healthcare to LGBTQ+ people on religious grounds.


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Criminalizing Trans Identities

Another swath of bills would result in the criminalization of LGBTQ+ identities and expression in public. This includes bans on drag performances that are often so vaguely written that they could potentially target any transgender or gender non-conforming person giving any sort of public performance. It also includes proposed bills to prevent transgender and non-binary people from obtaining state identity documents such as drivers' licenses or birth certificates that match their gender identities.

Bills have also been proposed to interpret existing state laws in a manner that would exclude transgender and non-binary people from several non-discrimination protections. Such bills would remove protections for transgender and non-binary people under existing laws in areas such as athletics, bathrooms, correctional facilities, domestic violence centers, schools and more.

The Attacks on Schools

We expect more states to target transgender and non-binary students by prohibiting them from using bathrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identities or preventing them from playing sports on teams that are aligned with their gender identities. Other bills would protect school staff who intentionally misgender transgender and non-binary students. Several “forced outing” bills would require educators and staff to notify caretakers of transgender and non-binary students’ gender identities, even without the students’ consent and when it could endanger their safety.

Schools are also being targeted with "Don’t Say LGBTQ+" bills that block educators from talking about LGBTQ+ issues or people, further stigmatizing LGBTQ+ people and isolating LGBTQ+ kids. They are often accompanied by bans on pride flags and safe spaces in schools. Anti-LGBTQ+ activists have made coordinated efforts to ban LGBTQ+ inclusive books such as Gender Queer, This Book is Gay and All Boys Aren't Blue. This has resulted in both threats of violence against schools and libraries as well as a massive spike in action to remove the targeted books.

Florida: Innovating Hate

After instituting the country’s first “Don’t Say LGBTQ+” law, anti-LGBTQ+ legislators in Florida continue to use the state as a testing ground to innovate hateful new bills that other states may copy. This includes a bill that would require government employees and contractors to only use pronouns for themselves and their colleagues that align with their sex assigned at birth, as well as prevent non-profits that receive state funding from requiring Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) training around sexual orientation or gender identity.

Other proposed bills in Florida include a ban on certain flags, including pride flags, being displayed on government property, and a bill that would allow college fraternities, sororities and other student organizations to discriminate based on gender identity. In an extraordinary abuse of power, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles declared that from now on, attempting to change the gender marker on a driver's license will constitute fraud, and that no new or renewed licenses will be issued reflecting a gender consistent with their gender identity. This discriminatory policy comes ahead of Florida HB1639, a bill that would, if passed, mandate that all state IDs must reflect sex assigned at birth, not gender identity. The bill would also create unnecessary barriers for health plans which provide gender-affirming healthcare and would require coverage for dangerous, unscientific conversion therapies.


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HRC’s Work to Combat Hateful Legislation


1942 Anti-LGBTQ+ bills opposed by HRC
194 Anti-LGBTQ+ bills passed by state legislators
90% Defeat Rate of anti-LGBTQ+ bills

With the help of our members and supporters, HRC is leveraging all our resources to beat back harmful legislation and secure LGBTQ+ equality. Here are some of the ways HRC shows up as leaders in this fight against harmful legislation:

  1. We provide legislators with expert policy analysis, lobby legislators, and draw upon our relationships with pro-equality lawmakers to make a difference. For example, we worked closely with lawmakers in Michigan to pass a bipartisan amendment to the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA) that explicitly includes protections for sexual orientation and gender identity. We also worked with our partners in Congress to prevent anti-LGBTQ+ provisions from being included in 2024 annual defense bill and in appropriations riders. Read our resource “Power of the Purse: Anti-LGBTQ+ Extremism in the Congressional Appropriations Process” to learn more about these hateful provisions.
  2. We organize against the bill by mobilizing HRC staff, volunteers, coalition partners and members like you. In 2023, we organized against anti-LGBTQ+ bills in several states, including Texas, Tennessee and Arkansas, and in support of pro-equality bills and candidates in states such as Virginia and Michigan.
  3. We educate the public, media, and other stakeholders about LGBTQ+ issues and work to change the culture while we fight back against bad laws. Our website has a wide array of educational resources about LGBTQ+ life, culture and civil rights.
  4. We encourage HRC members and supporters, LGBTQ+ people and our allies to share their stories with legislators, showing the real impact future laws would have on LGBTQ+ people and their families. Sign up for the United Against Hate Initiative and we'll follow-up with additional actions whenever bills affecting the LGBTQ+ community move in your state legislature.
  5. We work with companies, corporations, hospitals, trade associations, chambers of commerce, the media and in-state coalition partners to take a public, pro-equality stance. Recently, the HRC Foundation released the Count Us In Trans Youth Pledge for leading health, education and human services associations and organizations dedicated to the safety, inclusion, and well-being of youth. The pledge reaffirms their commitment to the LGBTQ+ community, specifically transgender and non-binary youth, as states across the country are enacting anti-LGBTQ+ legislation.

How You Can Help

Now is the time to get loud and visible in support of LGBTQ+ rights. We're always on the lookout for new supporters who share our mission to achieve full LGBTQ+ equality under the law and in society.

You can start by viewing HRC’s 2023 State Equality Index to see how close your state is to achieving LGBTQ+ equality.

View the SEI

By signing the Count Me In pledge, you can voice your support for transgender and non-binary people.

Sign Now

Whether or not you live near one of HRC’s Steering Committees, there are also many ways to volunteer all year long. With your support, we can change the lives of LGBTQ+ people.



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