ICYMI: Arizona Legislature Passes Two Discriminatory Education Bill Targeting LGBTQ+ Youth

by HRC Staff

Phoenix, Arizona – Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, denounces Arizona legislators for passing two hateful anti-LGBTQ+ bills, SB 1001 and SB 1040, which attack LGBTQ+ students. Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs is expected to veto both bills.

SB 1001 makes it illegal for teachers and other school personnel to respect the pronouns of a trans or non-binary student without written parental permission. SB 1040 bans trans students and school personnel from using school restrooms that match their gender identity and allows people to sue schools if they share a restroom or similar school facility with a trans person.

Gov. Hobbs’ victory last November makes this the first legislative session in nearly a decade where the governor is expected to veto discriminatory anti-LGBTQ+ bills. As a candidate, Gov. Hobbs committed to supporting transgender Arizonans, and her chief of staff signaled that SB 1011 and other bills attacking LGBTQ+ children would be “dead on arrival.” Last month, Gov. Hobbs vetoed SB 1005, which left schools open to the threat of litigation for providing supportive and affirming spaces for LGBTQ+ students.

Recent public opinion polling shows that Gov. Hobbs has broad support and is working to advance real issues that are important to the majority of Arizonans, while a slim anti-equality majority in the legislature is wasting time and resources attacking the LGBTQ+ community.

The Senate also passed SCR 1025 earlier this year, which adds a Parental Bill of Rights to the state constitution. If the House also passes this resolution, the constitutional amendment would go to the ballot as a referendum without Gov. Hobbs signature.

Human Rights Campaign Arizona State Director Bridget Sharpe released the following statement in response:

“These bills are just another example of government overreach. Rather than focusing on real issues impacting Arizonans, anti-equality state legislators are using their slim majorities to continue to assault the LGBTQ+ community and attack transgender children to appease their base. From bathrooms to classrooms, they show no shame in assaulting the freedoms of those different from them. Thankfully, Gov. Hobbs has been unwavering in her commitment to using the full extent of her power to protect our community and stop cruel, discriminatory bills from becoming law.
The Human Rights Campaign is grateful to her and the advocates who showed up throughout session to testify and bravely tell their stories. We will never stop fighting alongside you, particularly transgender and non-binary children who deserve to live authentic, full lives.”

Merely introducing anti-transgender bills and peddling anti-transgender rhetoric has a damaging impact on youth in Arizona. A Trevor Project survey shows that a startling 85% of transgender or gender non-binary youth say their mental health has been negatively affected by these legislative attacks.

So far in 2023, HRC is opposing more than 520 anti-LGBTQ+ bills that have been introduced in statehouses across the country. More than 220 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 125 gender-affirming care bans — bills that would prevent transgender youth from being able to access age-appropriate, medically-necessary, best-practice health care; this year, 15 have already become law in Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, South Dakota, Utah, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Georgia, Kentucky, West Virginia, North Dakota, Montana, Oklahoma and Florida;

  • More than 30 anti-transgender bathroom bills filed;

  • More than 100 anti-LGBTQ+ curriculum censorship bills, and;

  • 45 anti-LGBTQ+ drag performance ban bills.

Americans believe the amount of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation is excessive, agreeing it is “political theater.” Likely voters across all political parties look at GOP efforts to flood state legislatures with anti-LGBTQ+ legislation as political theater. Recent polling indicates that 64% of all likely voters, including 72% of Democrats, 65% of Independents, and 55% of Republicans think that there is “too much legislation” aimed at “limiting the rights of transgender and gay people in America” (Data For Progress survey of 1,220 likely voters, 3/24-26, 2023).

By comparison, last year in 2022 politicians in statehouses across the country introduced 315 anti-LGBTQ+ bills, 29 of which were enacted into law. These efforts — the result of a coordinated push led by national anti-LGBTQ+ groups, which deployed vintage discriminatory tropes seeking to slander, malign, and stigmatize LGBTQ+ people — only yielded a less than 10% success rate, as more than 90% of anti-LGBTQ+ bills were defeated. The majority of the discriminatory bills – 149 bills – targeted the transgender and non-binary community, with the majority targeting children. By the end of the 2022 state legislative season, a record 17 bills attacking transgender and non-binary children were enacted into law.

More than 300 major U.S. corporations have stood up and spoken out to oppose anti-LGBTQ+ legislation being proposed in states across the country. Major employers in tech, manufacturing, hospitality, health care, retail, and other sectors are joining with a unified voice to say discrimination is bad for business and to call on lawmakers to abandon these efforts. Four of the largest U.S. food companies also condemned “dangerous, discriminatory legislation that serves as an attack on LGBTQ+ individuals, particularly transgender and nonbinary people,” and the Walton Family Foundation issued a statement expressing “alarm” at the trend of anti-transgender legislation that recently became law in Arkansas.

Human Rights Campaign leaders, LGBTQ+ advocates and parents of transgender children are available for interviews. Please contact press@hrc.org.

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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