Why We Should Care About Anti-LGBTQ+ Bills

Apollo Brown, Reporter

Over the past few years, we have seen close to 400 bills that attack the rights of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Plus (LGBTQ+) community, specifically trans and gender-nonconforming people. These bills have been pushed by, a majority, of Republicans across the country and mostly in red states. 

The bills are attacking the LGBTQ+ communities’ civil rights through attempts to amend existing nondiscrimination laws. Nationwide, there are currently 27 bills on this specific topic.

The nondiscrimination laws in effect are mostly protecting LGBTQ+ individuals from being fired for being queer, refused housing or job opportunities, or refused service in an establishment because of their sexuality or gender identity. 

In 2013 a study done by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development showed that heterosexual, or straight, couples were chosen over same-sex, or queer couples, by 16% and this discrepancy was seen more in transgendered people.

There are other nondiscrimination laws being affected, too. For example, Arizona passed a bill that forces school staff to get signed permission to use a student’s preferred name and pronouns. 

This can cause a child to face discrimination from their parents, if the parent does not support them or kicks them out. 

Bill sponsor Senator John Kavanagh stated that the bill was about parental rights and that they had the right to know something significant about their children.  

On the other hand, Human Rights Campaign Arizona Director Bridget Sharpe stated that this bill will cause more damage to transgender teens and that they have the right to share their identity with those they feel most comfortable with.  

Another thing that these bills are attacking is the LGBTQ+ communities’ access to healthcare, specifically gender-affirming care. There are currently 100 bills, the majority are either advancing or have been defeated. Only three have been passed into law.

One of the bills that have been passed in Mississippi, House Bill 1125 was passed on January 19. This bill restricts anyone under the age of 18 from getting gender-affirming care, specifically surgeries. 

Jensen Luke Matar, who is an executive director of the Mississippi-based Transgender Resources Advocacy Network and Service Program, stated that the Mississippi lawmakers are determined that they know what is best for trans youth and are completely disregarding the recommendations of every health and medical association. 

Matar said, “I know from years of working directly with trans youth in Mississippi that they need support, love, and affirmation–not this brazen political attack that cuts off their access to life-saving care.”

On the other side of this law, Republican Senator Joey Fillingane stated that he wants people to know and understand that this law only affects those under the age of 18 and anyone older can receive gender-affirming care. 

These bills are incredibly dangerous for an already marginalized community, and this nationwide attack on them will make this situation worse.

And there’s no time to sit idly by, as these bills are extremely dangerous because they are being made at an alarming rate. At the beginning of the week, there were 327 bills that potentially infringe upon LGBTQ+ rights, and by the end of the week, there were 371 bills. In one week, we can see 44 new bills put forth to hurt the community.