Republicans just won the House of Representatives. Here’s what it means for LGBTQ+ rights

Pride flags are waved in front of the White House.

After the Republicans won a majority in the US House of Representatives, advancing LGBTQ+ rights through law possibly just got harder.

The Republican Party won its 218th seat in the House, meaning that regardless of the outcome of other, yet-to-be-called seats, it will have a narrow majority in the House.

This means the Republicans will take control of committees, giving them the power to shape legislation before votes in the House and Senate. They will also decide which bills go before the House.

The Democrats have maintained control of the Senate – the upper chamber of the United States Congress – winning 50 seat, with one final seat still up for grabs.

Republicans have already started making moves on federal anti-LGBTQ+ laws

In October, Mike Johnson, a Republican from Louisiana, introduced the Stop the Sexualization of Children Act, which is aimed at prohibiting the use of federal funds for “the presentation of sexually-oriented materials to children under the age of 10”.

The bill also allows parents to sue at the federal level if a child was exposed to such materials.

It has been likened to Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law, which was signed into state law in March.

If passed, Johnson’s bill would have a broad reach because the likes of schools, medical facilities and libraries receive public money.

Two bills designed to impact transgender people’s lives were also introduced in July, Reuters reported.

One would block federal funding to colleges that allow trans- and cisgender woman to participate in sports together, and the other would allow transgender people to sue medical personnel who helped them transition as minors.

Republican House will likely end in stalemate

With such a narrow majority – projected to be between 218 and 223 seats of 435 – the Republicans may find it hard to actually get anything done.

Absences, defections and rebellions could lead to stalemates – and the fractured nature of the Republican party could also prove an issue.

On the flip side, it seems likely the party could pull together to block progressive legislation from Joe Biden – certainly on trans rights, which the Republicans have a track record of opposing.

They may allow other, LGB-centric bills to pass – the Respect For Marriage Act, designed to protect same-sex marriage, passed the House in a bipartisan vote in July.

And any anti-LGBTQ+ legislation that proceeds through the House would find opposition in the Senate, where the Democrats retain control, and where a 60 vote supermajority is needed to pass.

LGBTQ+ people have already been heavily targeted by Republicans this year.

At the state legislature level, a record number of anti-LGBT+ bills were filed in the the first two-and-a-half months of 2022.

It comes as former president Donald Trump announced he is running again for the presidency in 2024.

During his launch speech on Tuesday (15 November), Trump appeared to support Johnson’s bill: “When I’m in the White House our schools will cease pushing … gender insanity, or they will lose all federal funding”.

In response, GLAAD chief executive Sarah Kate Ellis tweeted that Trump was using “the same anti-LGBTQ rhetoric” as he did in 2020.

”It didn’t work then and it won’t work in 2024.”

This week, the Senate voted to protect same-sex marriage. However, it will go back to the House for a final vote after a last-minute amendment to protest religious liberty.

President Joe Biden welcomed the vote and encouraged Congress “to quickly send this bill to my desk where I will promptly sign it into law”.