Human Rights Campaign Condemns Montana House for Passing Discriminatory Anti-Drag Bill

by HRC Staff

Bill is Part of a Large-Scale Attack on the LGBTQ+ Community

Helena, Montana – The Human Rights Campaign condemned today’s vote in the Montana House approving HB 359, legislation that will ban Montana residents under the age of 18 from attending drag shows. The dangerous practice of banning LGBTQ+ events, spaces, and culture – including drag performances – is part of a large-scale attack on the LGBTQ+ community and an attempt to put LGBTQ+ people, particularly transgender and non-binary people, back in the closet and labeled as dangerous.

Human Rights Campaign Legal Director Sarah Warbelow released the following statement:

“Drag performances have been part of mainstream entertainment for a long time. It is pathetic that extremist politicians are now targeting drag performances as a way to attack the LGBTQ+ community, instead of working on crafting real solutions to the problems facing Montana families today. If they are hoping to score political points with this latest anti-LGBTQ+ attack, they will surely fail, and we will continue fighting to ensure this and other anti-LGBTQ+ bills do not become law.”

Less than two months into 2023, HRC is already tracking more than 370 anti-LGBTQ+ bills that have been introduced in statehouses across the country. 150 of those would specifically restrict the rights of transgender people, the highest number of bills targeting transgender people in a single year to date.

So far this year, HRC is tracking:

  • 90 bills that would prevent trans youth from being able to access age-appropriate, medically-necessary, best-practice health care; two have already become law, in Utah and South Dakota.

  • More bathroom ban bills filed than in any previous year,

  • And 28 anti-LGBTQ+ bills which have passed at least one chamber, 10 of which specifically target the transgender community.

Nearly 1 in 5 hate crimes are now motivated by anti-LGBTQ+ bias and the last two years have been the deadliest for transgender people, especially Black transgender women, we have seen since HRC began tracking fatal violence against the community. Reports of violence and intimidation against LGBTQ+ people have been making news across the country – with white nationalists targeting a Pride event in Idaho and Proud Boys crashing Drag Queen story hours at local libraries to shout homophobic and transphobic slurs. Finally, anti-LGBTQ+ stigma also drives alarmingly high rates of depression, anxiety and suicide. 45% of LGBTQ+ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, but LGBTQ+ youth who have at least one accepting adult in their life were 40% less likely to attempt suicide.

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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