Weekly Roundup of Anti-LGBTQ+ Legislation Advancing In States Across the Country

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 current legislative climate for 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 540 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

  • 45 anti-LGBTQ laws have been enacted so far this year, including:

    • Laws banning gender affirming care for transgender youth: 13

    • Laws requiring or allowing misgendering of transgender students: 3

    • Laws targeting drag performances: 2

    • Laws creating a license to discriminate: 3

    • Laws censoring school curriculum, including books: 2

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.

Notable Bills Advanced in the Past Week (updated as of May 1, 2023)

  • More than 130 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have passed at least one chamber this calendar year. Some notable bills that advanced this week include:
    • In Alabama:
      • HB 261: would ban transgender college and university students from participating in sports consistent with their gender identity, would be Alabama’s second anti-transgender sports ban

      • HB 354: would expand the state’s current “Don’t Say LGBTQ+” education policy

    • In Florida:
      • HB 1674: “bathroom bill” that would prohibit transgender people from using restrooms aligning with their gender identity

      • SB 254: would ban gender affirming care for transgender youth and would also also give Florida the unprecedented ability to strip parental rights from a parent who supports their transgender child and give custody to the parent who does not support their child

    • In Indiana:
      • SB 350: would ban local governments from stopping conversion therapy

    • In Iowa:
      • 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

    • In Louisiana:
      • HB 466: would establish “Don’t Say LGBTQ+” style curriculum restrictions

    • In Montana:
      • SB 458: “LGBTQ+ Erasure Act” that would prohibit LGBTQ+ people from bringing claims of sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination in areas like employment, housing, public accommodations, health care, credit, and education. It would also require applications and records such as marriage license, death certificates, cemetery interment records, and child support registration to list sex based on type of gametes, eggs, or sperm rather than gender identity. The bill doubles down on the state ban on transgender students participating in sports consistent with their gender identity and the ban on marriage for same-sex couples (which is unenforceable)

      • HB 359: would target public drag performances

      • HB 676: would censor curriculum

    • Nebraska:
      • LB 574: would ban gender affirming care for transgender youth

    • New Hampshire:
      • SB 272: would force schools to out transgender and non-binary students

    • North Dakota:
      • HB 1522: would prohibit the use of pronouns in accordance with a pupil’s gender identity in schools

      • HB 1297: would prohibit changes to gender markers on birth certificates

      • HB 1474: would remove transgender individuals from state data collection

    • In Oklahoma:
      • SB 613: would ban gender affirming care for transgender youth

    • In South Carolina:
      • H 3728: would censor curriculum and prohibit schools from requiring staff to engage in gender or sexual diversity training

    • In Tennessee:
      • HB 239: the “LGBTQ+ Erasure Act” would adopt an exclusionary and discriminatory definition of sex which would exclude LGBTQ+ people from state non-discrimination laws and allow discrimination against transgender people in critical services including rape crisis centers and domestic violence shelters, in detention facilities, as well as in bathrooms, locker rooms, school athletics and beyond

      • HB 1269: would allow for the intentional misgendering and deadnaming of transgender and non-binary students by their teachers

      • HB 158/SB 102: would prohibit public education institutions from requiring implicit bias training

    • In Texas:
      • SB 1029: would probit all Texans of any age from receiving gender affirming care

  • The following bills have additionally been enacted into law.
    • In Kansas:
      • SB 180: the “LGBTQ+ Erasure Act” would apply a definition of gender discriminating against LGBTQ+ people, particularly transgender people

      • SB 228: Forces transgender Kansans to be housed in jails according to a discriminatory definition of “sex”

      • HB 2138: Forbids transgender students from using accommodations in accordance with their gender identity during overnight school trips

    • In Montana:
      • SB 99: wide-ranging law that will now make it effectively impossible for health care practitioners to provide age-appropriate, best practice, gender affirming care to transgender youth. It also forbids state employees who work with minors from “promoting” treatment for gender dysphoria, chilling the ability of educators, public health workers, child care workers, and employees of state medical facilities to be able to do their job. Recipients of Montana Medicaid and the CHIP program will not be able to receive coverage for gender-affirming care

      • HB 361: will allow for the intentional misgendering and deadnaming of transgender and non-binary students by their peers.

    • In North Dakota:
      • HB 1473: will prohibit transgender individuals from using restrooms and other facilities in domestic violence shelters, correctional facilities, and university dormitories consistent with their gender identity

    • In Tennessee:
      • HB 306/SB 1237: would allow private schools to prohibit transgender students from playing sports consistent with their gender identity

  • Additional bills that are in the final stages in the legislature or on their way to the state’s governor:
    • In Arkansas:
      • HB 1468: legislation that will prohibit school staff from addressing transgender students by their preferred name and pronouns.The bill also allows staff and students to misgender and deadname one another without consequence, creating a hostile school climate that is ripe for anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination

    • In Florida:
      • SB 254: would penalize providers by inflicting criminal penalties (including felony penalties) on providers who give gender-affirming care; it would take licenses away from those providers; and it would prohibit Medicare from covering gender-affirming care for transgender youth or adults. It would also forbid 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

    • In Montana
      • HB 303 - would allow medical practitioners, healthcare institutions, and health care payers – including doctors, nurses, counselors, pharmacists, and insurance companies – to deny any medical services based on personal belief rather than patient need.

    • In North Dakota:
      • HB 2247: would limit state data collection to two sexes, inherently discriminating against transgender and non-binary individuals

  • Despite the traction gained by anti-equality legislation in the past week, progress for legal equality for LGBTQ+ people were advanced in the following ways:
    • In Kansas, the state legislation failed to override Governor Laura Kelly’s veto of one discriminatory bill:
      • SB 26: would prohibit transgender youth from receiving gender affirming care

    • In Minnesota, Governor Tim Walz signed into law a bill banning conversion therapy:
      • HF 16: would ban dangerous conversion therapy practices in the state

    • In Pennsylvania, a statewide non-discrimination law moved forward:
      • HB 300: would enshrine in law nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ+ residents

Looking Back at 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 press@hrc.org.

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