by Cullen Peele •
WASHINGTON, D.C. — As extremist lawmakers in state houses across the country continue advancing a record-breaking number of anti-LGBTQ+ bills in state legislatures, the Human Rights Campaign — the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — is providing the below snapshot (updated weekly) to illustrate the hostile legislative climate facing LGBTQ+ people, and the scale and scope with which the ongoing legislative assault is being waged.
This weaponization of public policy has been driven by extremist groups that have a long history in working to oppress the existence and rights of LGBTQ+ people. Several of these organizations have been deemed hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center, such as the Alliance Defending Freedom and the Family Research Council.
Year-to-Date Snapshot: 2023 Anti-LGBTQ+ State Legislative Activity
Over 520 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been introduced in state legislatures, a record;
Over 220 bills specifically target transgender and non-binary people, also a record; and
Laws banning gender affirming care for transgender youth: 15
Laws requiring or allowing misgendering of transgender students: 7
Laws targeting drag performances: 2
Laws creating a license to discriminate: 3
Laws censoring school curriculum, including books: 4
Notable 2023 Trends & Topline Analysis
There have been more anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced in state houses this year than in each of the previous five years; with the increase in LGBTQ Erasure bills, bills that strip away dozens of legal protections and rights for LGBTQ+ people, coming as the newest form of attacks on the community
More than 125 bills would prevent trans youth from being able to access age-appropriate, medically-necessary, best-practice health care, in addition to more than 45 bills banning transgender students from playing school sports and more than 30 “bathroom bills,” a figure that exceeds the number bathroom bills filed in any previous year.
Some states that have been the most aggressive in advancing anti-LGBTQ+ laws include Florida, North Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas
Notable Bills Advanced in the Past Week (updated as of May 22, 2023)
More than 145 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have passed at least one chamber this calendar year. Some notable bills that advanced this past week or may advance this week include:
SB 1040: would ban 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.
HB 648: would ban gender affirming care for transgender youth
HB 6: would prohibit transgender students from participating in school sports
SB 83: would restrict diversity, equity, and inclusion programs or trainings
H. 3728: would censor curriculum and prohibit schools from requiring gender or sexual diversity counseling or training for students and staff.
SB 17: would prohibit diversity, equity, and inclusion offices at state colleges and universities
SB 12: would criminalize drag performances
The following bills have additionally been enacted into law.
HB 1069: silences educators by prohibiting any instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity from Pre-K through 8th grade, expanding the “Don’t Say LGBTQ+ Law” passed last year
SB 254: penalizes providers by inflicting criminal penalties (including felony penalties) on providers who give gender-affirming care; takes licenses away from those providers; and it prohibits Medicare from covering gender-affirming care for transgender youth or adults. It also forbids public funds, including those of a public university, public hospital, city, or county, and Medicare, from being used to provide benefits that include gender-affirming care – for transgender people of all ages. And – uniquely – it allows the state to use gender-affirming care or the “risk” of such care for a child as a reason to give Florida family courts exceptional jurisdiction to set aside another state’s custody determination
HB 1521: would criminalize transgender people for using the restroom that matches their gender identity
SB 518: allows schools to misgender and forcibly out transgender and non-binary students
SB 458: LGBTQ+ Erasure bill, adopts an anti-LGBTQ definition of “sex” that now impacts the entirety of Montana law
HB 676: allows parents to withdraw students from public school if they disagree with the lesson plan of the day
LB 574: prohibits transgender youth from receiving age-appropriate, best practice gender affirming healthcare and will also prohibit abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy
HB 239: LGBTQ+ Erasure bill, establishes an anti-LGBTQ definition of “sex” in state statute
HB 158: prohibits public education institutions from requiring implicit bias trainings
HB 1269: allows for the intentional misgendering and deadnaming of transgender and non-binary students by their teachers
Additional bills that are in the final stages in the legislature or are awaiting signature from the state’s governor:
SB 170: would discourage cities from passing non-discrimination ordinances by raising the barriers to proposing ordinances and making it easier to challenge ordinances in court
SF 496: would ban classroom discussions that touch on LGBTQ+ topics in grades K-6, and would also require schools to forcibly out transgender students
SF 391/HF 327: would censor info about HIV and AIDS from required curriculum standards
HB 648: would ban gender affirming care for transgender youth
HB 466: would impose a “Don’t Say LGBTQ+” style curriculum censorship law
SB 39: would ban transgender students from participating in school sports
SB 49: would ban gender affirming care for transgender youth
SB 14: would ban gender affirming care for transgender youth
SB 15: would prohibit transgender students from participating in sports at public universities
SB 763: would allow for chaplains to serve as public school counselors
Public Opinion Roundup: Recent LGBTQ+ Polling
A polling memo released recently by the Human Rights Campaign highlights a series of recent national polls revealing that Americans are growing increasingly opposed to anti-LGBTQ+ legislation sweeping through state houses, finding the push excessive and nothing more than “political theater.”
ANTI-LGBTQ+ BILLS — 64% of all likely voters think there is “too much legislation” aimed at “limiting the rights of transgender and gay people in America” — including 72% of Democrats, 65% of Independents, and 55% of Republicans [source].
GENDER AFFIRMING CARE — Two recent national surveys report opposition to bans on gender affirming care — one indicating 54% opposition [source] and the other indicating 53% opposition [source].
DRAG BANS — Nearly six in 10 (58%) Americans oppose laws that would restrict drag shows or performances in their state, while 39% support legislation to restrict these performances. While 61% of Republicans are in favor of these bans, 73% of Democrats and 57% of Independents oppose the proposed limitations [source].
BOOK & CURRICULUM BANS — Majorities disapprove of banning LGBTQ+ content in schools — nearly 60% of Americans believe middle school libraries should include materials related to “gender identity” and “sexual orientation” [source]
Looking Back at the 2022 State Legislative Sessions
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.
For more information about the onslaught of state legislative bills being introduced in state houses across the country, or to request an interview with an HRC legislative expert, please contact firstname.lastname@example.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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