ICYMI: Gov. Gianforte Signs Bill that Allows Intentional Misgendering of LGBTQ+ Students

by HRC Staff

Helena, Montana — The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — slammed Governor Gianforte for signing HB 361, which allows for the intentional misgendering and deadnaming of transgender and non-binary students by their peers.

“This dangerous bill is a desperate and cruel effort by extremist politicians in Montana to stigmatize, marginalize and erase transgender and non-binary students. While these kids are doing their best to learn, grow, and fit in with their peers, radical lawmakers are doing everything in their power to create hostile classrooms. Shame on Governor Gianforte for passing this discriminatory legislation.”

Courtnay Avant, Human Rights Campaign Legislative Counsel

The signing of this bill comes after previous attacks on the LGBTQ+, particularly the transgender, community in Montana. Just this week, the Montana House of Representatives voted to prohibit Rep. Zooey Zephyr, a transgender lawmaker who has spoken out repeatedly in recent days over legislative efforts to erase and marginalize transgender Montanans under state law, from speaking on legislation and to ban her from the House of Representatives for the remainder of the current legislative session. Her aggressive and radical colleagues in the House are trying to marginalize transgender Montanans under state law, with the LGBTQ Erasure Act and a bill to ban gender affirming health care sitting on Governor Gianforte’s desk awaiting his signature, even after Governor Gianforte’s own child has spoken out against these bills as a member of the LGBTQ+ community.

So far in 2023, HRC is opposing more than 540 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 bills that would prevent transgender youth from being able to access age-appropriate, medically-necessary, best-practice health care; this year, 13 have already become law in Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, South Dakota, Utah, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Georgia, Kentucky, West Virginia and North Dakota.

  • More than 30 bathroom ban bills filed,

  • More than 100 curriculum censorship bills and 40 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.

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.

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