The Human Rights Campaign has just issued a “national state of emergency for LGBTQ+ Americans,” based on an “unprecedented and dangerous spike in anti-LGBTQ+ legislative assaults sweeping state houses this years.” The “state of emergency” is based on an HRC report compiling a list of anti-LGBTQ laws in each state.
“More than 75 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been signed into law this year alone, more than doubling last year’s number, which was previously the worst year on record,” noted an HRC press release. “Our community is in danger, but we won’t stop fighting back — not now, not ever.”
A chart displaying the “State of LGBTQ+ Rights” lists two positive laws and eight negative laws and shows where each of the 50 states stands in each of those 10 categories.
According to the chart, 24 states have nondiscrimination laws in place protecting LGBTQ people, and 21 have laws banning conversion therapy.
On the “bad” side of the chart, 15 states have laws banning gender-affirming health care; nine have laws banning trans people from using public bathroom facilities consistent with their gender identity; 20 have a ban on trans student athletes participating in school sports, four have a so-called “LGBTAQ+ erasure law” in place; four have enacted a Don’t Say LGBTQ+ law; eight have a pronoun refusal law; seven have laws forcing schools and teachers to out LGBTQ students to their parents, and one — Tennessee — has a law restricting or banning drag performances. (That Tennessee law, however, has been declared unconstitutional by a trial court judge.)
Texas has neither nondiscrimination protections in place at the state level for LGBTQ people, nor do we have a conversion therapy ban. The Lone Star State has passed a ban on gender-affirming healthcare for transgender minors that is awaiting Gov. Greg Abbott’s signature, and lawmakers in the just-completed legislative session expanded the existing ban on trans athletes participating in public school sports to include trans athletes at state-sponsored colleges and universities.
Efforts to pass an anti-trans “bathroom ban” failed in the 2017 Texas Legislature.
Lobbyists were able to amend a measure — Senate Bill 12 — this year that would have specifically banned drag performances anywhere that someone under age 18 might see them, getting drag-specific language removed. Ambiguous language added at the last minute during conference committee leaves the law wide open to interpretation, meaning it could be applied to anything from a drag performance to a high school cheerleader routine.
Abbott has yet to take any action on that bill.
— Tammye Nash