No, you’re not imagining it: The recent surge in anti-LGBTQ bills across the United States is truly unprecedented.
We’re less than four months into the year, but 2021 is already on track to outpace 2015 as the worst year for anti-LGBTQ legislation in recent memory, according to a new report from the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). Since January 1, 2021, more than 250 anti-LGBTQ bills have been introduced by Republican lawmakers in state legislatures. Eight of those bills have become law; ten more are awaiting a governor’s signature and expected to be signed.
Prior to 2021, 2015 held the record of the worst year for anti-LGBTQ legislation in the U.S. That year’s total tally? Fifteen laws.
A significant portion of these legislative attacks take aim at transgender youth, with some — including a particularly devastating bill that was recently enacted into law in Arkansas — targeting their access to life-saving transition-related health care. Although the country’s leading pediatricians and psychiatrists oppose these bans, they continue to gain steam, instilling fear and panic in trans kids and the adults who love them.
Other anti-transgender bills aim to ban trans women and girls from participating in student athletics alongside cisgender women and girls, logic that flies in the face of recommendations from leading groups like the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
Trans kids and their families are leaving their homes. They are being threatened and outed and harassed. They are being banned from the sports they love.
Tell me how this is protecting kids again?
— Chase Strangio (@chasestrangio) April 20, 2021
In a statement, HRC president Alphonso David impressed the need for corporations to stand with LGBTQ Americans:
As of today, hundreds of bills have been introduced in state legislatures around the country that attempt to erase transgender people [and] make LGBTQ people second class citizens. In order to achieve equality, we need those in positions of power at the largest businesses in the country to rise up against injustice and discrimination; businesses that have increasingly, over the years, embraced the inherent benefits of being socially responsible. … Companies cannot rise up and speak out against hate in the streets but remain silent when they see hate being indoctrinated in our laws by state legislatures and in the halls of the U.S. Capitol.