HRC’s First-Ever Emergency Declaration Comes After More Than 75 Anti-LGBTQ+ Bills Signed Into Law This Year (More Than Double The Number From Last Year), Creating an Imminent Threat to the Health and Safety of LGBTQ+ People and Families Nationwide
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — officially declared a state of emergency for LGBTQ+ people in the United States for the first time in its more than 40-year history, following an unprecedented and dangerous spike in anti-LGBTQ+ legislative assaults sweeping state houses this year. A new report released by HRC today — LGBTQ+ Americans Under Attack — details more than 75 anti-LGBTQ+ bills that have been signed into law this year alone, more than doubling last year’s number, which was previously the worst year on record.
The sharp rise in anti-LGBTQ+ measures has spawned a dizzying patchwork of discriminatory state laws that have created increasingly hostile and dangerous environments for LGBTQ+ people, prompting HRC today to also issue a national warning and downloadable guidebook for the LGBTQ+ community — including health and safety resources, a summary of state-by-state laws, “know your rights” information, and resources designed to support LGBTQ+ travelers as well as those already living in hostile states. This guidebook will arm LGBTQ+ people with resources and information to help ensure safety in all 50 states.
An Escalating Crisis for LGBTQ+ People Across the Country
Extremist politicians and their allies have ushered in an unprecedented climate of fear, hostility, and discrimination that’s already rippling consequences across the LGBTQ+ community. As detailed in HRC’s legislative impact report, there has been a steady increase in anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced in state legislatures over the last several years — from 115 bills introduced in 2015 to more than 500 in 2023. This year, more than 75 bills have been signed into law — more than doubling last year’s number.
The 2023 state legislative session was the worst year on record for anti-LGBTQ+ legislation:
More than 525 bills were introduced in 41 states.
Over 220 of these bills explicitly targeted transgender people.
Over 76 bills have been signed into law as of June 5, 2023 — more than any year on record, and more than double over last year.
Transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming youth in particular have been directly impacted by anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, losing access to life saving medical care, comprehensive and inclusive education, and activities, spaces, and facilities.
Transgender sports bans (21 states) — 30% of high school aged transgender youth — approximately 90,100 of the estimated 300,100 transgender youth aged 13-17 in the U.S. — are living in states where they are unable to simply play alongside their friends. As these bills extend all the way down into Kindergarten and, in some states, through college, many more transgender youth and young adults are impacted as well.
Gender-affirming care bans (20 states) — 30.9% of all transgender youth age 13-17 are living in states where they can no longer access life-saving, best practices medical care. In some states, care has been banned not only for youth, but adults as well, especially through bans on public funds going to provide this best practice healthcare. More than 30 states introduced gender affirming care bans during the 2023 legislative session, meaning that at its height, half of all transgender youth in the U.S. were at risk of losing access to gender-affirming care.
Bathroom bans (9 states) — 14.8% of transgender people (age 13+) — over 243,000 of the 1.6 million transgender people in the U.S. — live in states where they are unable to use bathrooms, locker rooms, and/or other facilities in accordance with their gender identity while in K-12 (public) school buildings, if not elsewhere. This includes 32,700 transgender youth nationwide, or 10.9% of all transgender youth age 13-17. Over 110,000 transgender people (age 13+) live in states where they are also banned from using bathrooms and facilities in some public settings and buildings outside of K-12 schools.
Families in the States Speak Out
The targeting of transgender and non-binary youth by extremist politicians is creating a crisis for families — millions of whom live in regions that present threats of danger to them and their children. Families from some of the most hostile states across the country stood alongside HRC today to give platform to the voices of millions being shamelessly attacked and targeted by their governing leaders.
Texas Parent Wendy: “Being forced to leave our family and friends, with Texas roots over a hundred years, is going to be the hardest thing we’ll ever do,” said Wendy, a mother of four in Texas who is relocating to Minnesota this summer. “Our close knit family, especially my mom, is devastated. Going from seeing each other every week to every other month is going to be emotionally challenging.”
Montana Parent Megan: "It’s difficult to articulate what it’s like to be forced out like this," said Megan, a parent of a transgender child living in Montana who is looking for jobs in other states. "It sort of makes you feel like a refugee, as we’ll obviously do whatever we need to do to keep our child safe. But we have great jobs in Montana, a tight friend circle that includes people who really care for and love us, and so leaving all of that behind for our whole family and starting new is difficult for us, as well as our children, who will also be fully uprooted, obviously."
Texas Parent Rachel: “My family has been fighting for many years to be able to safely stay in our home state of Texas while supporting our transgender daughter,” said Rachel Gonzales in Texas, a member of HRC’s Parents for Transgender Equality Council. “Despite the exponentially heightened threats we face today from hate-filled legislators, we are still surrounded by Texans who know, love and support us. It is horrifying that so many families are being used as pawns in this manufactured debate from political extremists. We want every trans kid and adult here to know that they are not alone, we are staying put and we’ll be fighting right here alongside you.”
Florida Parent Daniel: “When a child's basic needs are not being met, or when a child is neglected or endangered in the home, Child Protective Services is called. But what happens when it's the State that's endangering a child? When the State is not allowing basic needs to be met?,” said Daniel, the dad of a transgender young person in Florida who recently moved to Minnesota. “We have become our own version of Child Protective Service and removed our child from the danger and neglect from the State.”
Empowering LGBTQ+ People to Protect Themselves, Fight Back
To ensure that LGBTQ+ people have the information and resources they need to not only ensure their safety while residing in or traveling through some of the most hostile regions of the country, HRC today released an LGBTQ+ guidebook for action, for navigating the current climate. The guidebook is part of a larger effort by which HRC will spend the coming months working to furnish the LGBTQ+ community with information and resources it needs to navigate the increasingly hostile climate, and it includes:
State-by-state run down of anti-LGBTQ+ policies as well as LGBTQ+ protections
How to determine access to LGBTQ+ healthcare
Resources for financing a move to safer states and finding employment
Navigating school boards
Information for filing complaints for violation of civil rights laws
Identifying the source of harmful rhetoric and legislative attacks
How to engage in local advocacy opposing anti-LGBTQ+ efforts
How to navigate tough conversations about anti-LGBTQ+ hate with friends and family
More information on today’s announcement can be found on HRC’s website:
To make a general inquiry, please visit our contact page. Members of the media can reach our press office at: (202) 572-8968 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.