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 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

  • A record 50 anti-LGBTQ laws have been enacted so far this year, including:
    • Laws banning gender affirming care for transgender youth: 14

    • Laws requiring or allowing misgendering of transgender students: 5

    • 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.

Notable Bills Advanced in the Past Week (updated as of May 15, 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:

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

    • HB 81: would allow schools to forcibly out and intentionally misgender transgender and non-binary students

    • HB 648: would ban gender affirming care for transgender youth

  • Missouri:
    • SB 39: would ban transgender students from participating in school sports

    • SB 49: would ban gender affirming care for transgender youth

  • Montana:
    • HB 676: could force schools to out students

  • Ohio:
    • HB 6: would ban gender affirming care for transgender youth

  • South Carolina:
    • H. 3728: would censor curriculum and prohibit schools from requiring gender or sexual diversity counseling or training for students and staff.

  • Texas:
    • SB 14: would ban gender affirming care for transgender youth

    • SB 8: would enact a “Don’t Say LGBTQ+” style law

    • SB 12: would criminalize drag performances

    • SB 162: would prohibit changes to gender markers on birth certificates

    • SB 1601: would place a ban on drag story hours

    • SB 115: would ban transgender students from participating in sports at public universities

The following bills have additionally been enacted into law.

  • Florida:
    • SB 266: allows the state Board of Governors to give direction to universities on removing majors and minors in subjects like critical race theory and gender studies

    • SB 1580: a “​​License to Discriminate in Healthcare” bill, allows healthcare providers and insurers to deny a patient care on the basis of religious, moral, or ethical beliefs

  • North Dakota:
    • HB 1522: prohibits schools and state employers from requiring respectful pronoun use for students or colleagues and forbids transgender students from using school restrooms consistent with their gender identity

    • HB 1297: prohibits a transgender individual from being able to update the gender marker on their birth certificate under any circumstances

    • HB 1474: erases LGBTQ+ people from multiple areas of state law by adopting a discriminatory, unworkable definition of “sex” that would have a particularly harmful impact on nonbinary and transgender people. It also prohibits LGBTQ+ people from bringing claims of sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination in areas of law including employment, housing, and public accommodations. The law also impacts intersex people.

Additional bills that are in the final stages in the legislature or are awaiting signature from the state’s governor:

  • 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

    • SB 1320: would expand Florida's Don't Say LGBTQ+ law to higher grade levels

    • SB 1521: would criminalize transgender people for using the restroom that matches their gender identity

    • 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

  • 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

    • SF 391/HF 327: would censor info about HIV and AIDS from required curriculum standards

  • Missouri:
    • SB 39: would ban transgender students from participating in school sports

    • SB 49: would ban gender affirming care for transgender youth

  • 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.

    • SB 458: LGBTQ+ Erasure bill, would adopt an anti-LGBTQ definition of “sex” that would impact the entirety of Montana law.

    • HB 676: could force schools to out students

    • SB 518: would allow schools to misgender and forcibly out transgender and non-binary students

    • HB 359: would criminalize drag performances.

  • Tennessee:
    • HB 239: LGBTQ+ Erasure bill, would establish an anti-LGBTQ definition of “sex” in state statute

    • HB 158: would prohibit public education institutions from requiring implicit bias trainings

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

Public Opinion Roundup: Recent LGBTQ+ Polling

A new polling memo released last week 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.”

Key Points:

  • 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 press@hrc.org.

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