Human Rights Campaign Fighting Back Against Idaho House Bill That Forces Schools to Out Youth

by HRC Staff

Boise, Idaho – The Human Rights Campaign is pushing back today against the Idaho House’s passage of H 163, legislation that could force public schools to out LGBTQ+ students.

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

“It’s outrageous that extremist politicians in Idaho are pushing to force schools to out youth to potentially unsupportive families rather than support students in coming out to their parents . Every youth should have the opportunity to learn and grow in a safe and welcoming environment. This bill will further isolate and marginalize LGBTQ+ kids, making their lives even harder. The decision of when to come out is a deeply personal one, and it is despicable to imagine that schools in Idaho might soon place kids in potentially dangerous situations.”

LGBTQ+ students, like all students, have a right to be treated with dignity and respect at school, and federal civil rights laws protect the rights of transgender students, too. Research shows that supportive school environments lead to better outcomes for students. The nation’s leading child health and welfare groups representing more than 7 million youth-serving professionals and more than 1,000 child welfare organizations released an open letter calling for lawmakers in states across the country to oppose dozens of bills that target LGBTQ+ people, and transgender youth in particular. This is not serious legislation - it is one more effort, by a legislature that has a long track record of attacks on LGBTQ+ people, to further marginalize LGBTQ+ students.

Less than two months into 2023, HRC is already tracking 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 are specifically anti-trans.

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 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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