Oklahoma City, Oklahoma — The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — condemned the Oklahoma House passage of HB 2546, a Don't Say LGBTQ+ bill.
HB 2546 bans classroom discussion of gender identity or sexual orientation from kindergarten through fifth grade. The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.
Human Rights Campaign Legislative Counsel Courtnay Avant issued the following statement today:
“Once again, instead of working to provide safe and supportive learning environments for students, anti-LGBTQ+ legislators are choosing to create hostile school climates for some of our most marginalized youth. Singling-out sexual orientation and gender identity in the classroom does little more than isolate LGBTQ+ students. A diverse and inclusive education is absolutely necessary to ensure that LGBTQ+ students feel accepted at school, and our educators should feel empowered to provide it. We strongly urge the Oklahoma Senate to stop attacking LGBTQ+ children and oppose this discriminatory bill.”
86% of LGBTQ+ youth report they have been targets of bullying, harassment or assault at school. Studies have shown that bullying and harassment of LGBTQ+ youth contribute to high rates of absenteeism, dropout, adverse health consequences, and academic underachievement. A recent Trevor Project survey showed that a startling 85% of transgender or gender non-binary youth say their mental health has been negatively affected by the current wave of legislative attacks. “Don’t Say Gay or Trans” and “Stop WOKE” are vile examples of state-sponsored discrimination, bullying and harassment. Studies clearly demonstrate the harms for LGBTQ+ youth mental health when they are denied affirming and protective school environments.
So far in 2023, HRC is tracking more than 420 anti-LGBTQ+ bills that have been introduced in statehouses across the country. Approximately 180 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:
More than 100 bills that would prevent trans youth from being able to access age-appropriate, medically-necessary, best-practice health care; five have already become law, in Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, South Dakota, and Utah,
More bathroom ban bills filed than in any previous year,
More than 80 curriculum censorship bills and 35 anti-drag performance bills.
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 in 2022 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.
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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