Human Rights Campaign Slams Idaho Senate Vote to Force Schools to Out LGBTQ+ Youth

by HRC Staff

"If This Bill is Signed into Law, It Will Further Marginalize Youth Across Idaho and Put Them in Personal danger”

Boise, Idaho – The Human Rights Campaign is pushing back today against the Idaho Senate’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:

“The decision of when to come out to your family and loved ones is a deeply personal one. LGBTQ+ people deserve the dignity to make that decision on our own terms. It’s disturbing that Idaho has now moved another step towards forcing schools to out LGBTQ+ students to parents who may not be supportive. If this bill is signed into law, it will further marginalize youth across Idaho and put them in personal danger.”

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.

So far in 2023, HRC is tracking more than 410 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; four have already become law, in 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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