At least 160 dehumanising attacks on LGBT+ rights are being pushed by US lawmakers right now
While Florida faces stiff criticism of its “Don’t Say Gay” bill, dozens more pieces of anti-LGBT+ legislation are pending across the US.
2021 saw a record-breaking number of anti-LGBT+ bills being debated and signed into law across the country. Last year, 25 anti-LGBT+ were enacted, including 13 anti-trans laws across eight states.
In total, there were over 130 anti-trans bills that were proposed across 33 states, according to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). It was also the deadliest year on record for trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming people with at least 56 trans people being murdered.
Sadly, 2022 is shaping up to continue the trend and become the most anti-trans legislative year in US history.
It’s barely into the third month of the year, and the HRC has reported there are at least 160 anti-LGBT+ bills pending in state legislatures. More than half of these bills directly target trans youth.
Florida’s reviled House Bill 1557, dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, passed through the state’s House last week, and it has quickly passed through a Georgia Senate committee on Monday (28 February) by a 12-8 vote.
While Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill has dominated headlines, several state legislatures have advanced anti-LGBT+ legislation, with more bills being introduced seemingly every day.
The Alabama Senate on Wednesday (23 February) approved Senate Bill 184 (SB 184), which would deny gender-affirming medical care such as puberty blockers, hormone treatment or surgeries to trans youth.
The bill would make the providing of such treatments – which researchers say can be “life-saving” for trans youth – a Class C felony, which carries a hefty 10-year prison sentence or fine.
Alabama senators passed the bill with a 24-6 vote. It now moves to the state’s House.
Meanwhile, lawmakers have introduced House Bill 266, a companion bill to SB 184, in the House. The anti-trans bill will be voted on at the next House Judiciary Committee meeting on 2 March, according to the ACLU of Alabama.
On Tuesday (22 February), the Alabama House passed House Bill 322 (HB 322)that would ban trans students from using bathrooms and other multi-person facilities that match their gender identity.
The bill would require students who attend public K-12 schools in the state to use school facilities that match the sex listed on their “original birth certificate”.
Conservative lawmakers have advanced two anti-LGBT+ bills in Arizona. On Thursday (24 February), Arizona’s Senate passed Senate Bill (SB 1138) with a 16-12 vote, and it has been sent to the House for debate.
The bill would prohibit healthcare providers from providing gender-affirming surgeries, puberty blockers and hormone treatments to trans youth under the age of 18.
The Arizona House passed House Bill 2161 (HB 2161), which would require healthcare entities and school officials to out LGBT+ kids to their parents, on Thursday with a 31-28 vote.
The proposed legislation would give parents the right to access all written and electronic records of a minor child unless otherwise prohibited by law. This could include any information on a child’s physical, emotional or mental health – and a student’s gender identity or sexual orientation.
Bridget Sharpe, Arizona state director for the HRC, said the bill would cause “severe emotional distress to LGBTQ+ youth who are more likely to face victimisation, violence and suicidality”.
“Forcibly outing LGBTQ+ children puts their lives in danger,” Sharpe said. “Trust between school staff and students is also necessary to provide adequate mental health support.”
She continued: “LGBTQ+ youth should be able to manage their identity without interference from parents or schools – especially given that nearly half of all LGBTQ+ youth who are out to their parents say that their families make them feel bad for being who they are.”
State senators on Thursday passed a bill that would ban trans students from playing on school sports teams matching their gender identity.
Senate Bill 435 (SB 435), which was sponsored by 25 Republican senators, passed in a 34-24 vote largely along party lines.
The proposed legislation would ban public school systems, public schools and participating private schools from operating, sponsoring or facilitating “interscholastic or intramural athletics that permit” trans students to participate on teams that match their gender identity.
Rebecca Galanti, a spokesperson for the Democratic Party of Georgia, said it was “absolutely despicable” that the state’s Republicans are “attacking kids for political gain”.
“This hateful bill is a dangerous ploy to rally political support in an election year by demonizing Georgia’s transgender community and threatening kids and teenagers’ wellbeing,” said Galanti.