BATON ROUGE, LA. – Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, applauds Gov. John Bel Edwards for vetoing three discriminatory bills targeting LGBTQ+ youth: an extreme Gender Affirming Care Ban (HB 648), a “Don’t Say LGBTQ+” Bill (HB 466) and a Pronoun Restriction Bill (HB 81).
The Gender Affirming Care Ban (HB 648) would ban physicians from providing age-appropriate, best practice health care for transgender minors under the age of 18. This bill contradicts guidelines recommended by every major medical association including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, and more because gender-affirming care saves lives.
The “Don’t Say LGBTQ+” Bill (HB 466) prevents students and educators across the state from providing safe and inclusive classrooms. It will prohibit teachers from discussing LGBTQ+ issues or people in the classroom and during any extracurricular academic, athletic, or social activities, further stigmatizing LGBTQ+ people and isolating LGBTQ+ kids. Under the bill, teachers would not even be allowed to discuss their own sexual orientation or gender identity. The Pronoun Restriction Bill (HB 81) allows schools to forcibly out and intentionally misgender transgender and non-binary students.
In response, Courtnay Avant, Human Rights Campaign Legislative Counsel, released the following statement:
“We sincerely thank Gov. Bel Edwards for rejecting these shameful, mean spirited bills targeting LGBTQ+ youth. These bills are nothing but a desperate and cruel effort by extremist politicians in Louisiana to stigmatize, marginalize and erase the LGBTQ+ community, particularly transgender youth. In contrast, Gov. Bel Edwards heard the voices of transgender kids, their families, teachers, and medical experts and chose to treat transgender children with dignity and respect. We strongly urge the Louisiana legislature to uphold the governor’s veto and stop these discriminatory attacks on vulnerable children.”
THE FACTS: 2023 Becoming Worst Year On Record for Anti-LGBTQ+ Legislation
So far in 2023, HRC is opposing almost 560 anti-LGBTQ+ bills that have been introduced in statehouses across the country. A total of 80 pieces of legislation have been enacted into law this year. A total of 229 of those bills would specifically restrict the rights of transgender people, the highest number of bills targeting transgender people in a single year to date. This year, HRC is tracking:
A total 131 gender-affirming care bans — bills that would prevent transgender youth from being able to access age-appropriate, medically-necessary, best-practice health care; this year, 17 have already become law in Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, South Dakota, Utah, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Georgia, Kentucky, West Virginia, North Dakota, Montana, Oklahoma, Florida, Nebraska, and Missouri
More than 30 anti-transgender bathroom bills filed;
A total of 100 anti-LGBTQ+ curriculum censorship bills, and;
44 anti-LGBTQ+ drag performance ban bills.
Americans believe the amount of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation is excessive, agreeing it is “political theater.” Likely voters across all political parties look at GOP efforts to flood state legislatures with anti-LGBTQ+ legislation as political theater. Recent polling indicates that 64% of all likely voters, including 72% of Democrats, 65% of Independents, and 55% of Republicans think that there is “too much legislation” aimed at “limiting the rights of transgender and gay people in America” (Data For Progress survey of 1,220 likely voters, 3/24-26, 2023).
By comparison, last year in 2022 politicians in statehouses across the country introduced 315 anti-LGBTQ+ bills, 29 of which were enacted into law. These efforts — the result of a coordinated push led by national anti-LGBTQ+ groups, which deployed vintage discriminatory tropes seeking to slander, malign, and stigmatize LGBTQ+ people — only yielded a less than 10% success rate, as more than 90% of anti-LGBTQ+ bills were defeated. The majority of the discriminatory bills – 149 bills – targeted the transgender and non-binary community, with the majority targeting children. By the end of the 2022 state legislative season, a record 17 bills attacking transgender and non-binary children were enacted into law.
More than 300 major U.S. corporations have stood up and spoken out to oppose anti-LGBTQ+ legislation being proposed in states across the country. Major employers in tech, manufacturing, hospitality, health care, retail, and other sectors are joining with a unified voice to say discrimination is bad for business and to call on lawmakers to abandon these efforts. Four of the largest U.S. food companies also condemned “dangerous, discriminatory legislation that serves as an attack on LGBTQ+ individuals, particularly transgender and nonbinary people,” and the Walton Family Foundation issued a statement expressing “alarm” at the trend of anti-transgender legislation that recently became law in Arkansas.
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ+ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.
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