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More than 100 anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced in US already in 2023. No, seriously

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A photo shows a group of trans activists protesting, one sign being held says "Protect Trans Kids".

The new year may be little more than a few weeks old but US lawmakers have already put forward more than 100 bills targeting the LGBTQ+ community in that short time.

The bills, across various states, include limiting gender-affirming health care for minors and proposed new legislation to restrict drag performances. Texas leads the way with 36 anti-LGBTQ+ bills. Missouri is next with 26, followed by North Dakota with eight and Oklahoma with six.

Primarily aimed at transgender young people, the bills continue the trend of transphobia that currently plagues the US. In the past three years, according to the LGBTQ+ think tank, Movement Advancement Project, 18 states have banned transgender students from competing on school sports teams that align with their chosen gender.

Alarmingly, Arkansas, Alabama, Tennessee and Arizona have all enacted restrictions on gender-affirming medical care for minors, although federal judges have blocked them from taking effect in Arkansas and Alabama.

In at least three states, bills have been introduced this month to restrict trans girls and women from playing on female sports teams. Lawmakers in 11 states have proposed regulations that would restrict gender-affirming care for children.

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People hold up signs in support of the LGBTQ+ community as they protest against Florida governor Ron DeSantis, who championed the state's 'Don't Say Gay' bill
Advocates have condemned Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law for silencing classroom discussions on LGBTQ+ people and identities. (Getty)

According to the deputy director of the American Civil Liberty Union’s LGBT and HIV Project, Chase Strangio, efforts to limit LGBTQ+ rights have been escalating at an alarming level.

“The rightward shift in state legislatures is really scary,” Strangio said.

“We’re seeing continued erosion and efforts to restrain and constrict and limit bodily autonomy across the board.

“There’s a lot that I think people are taking for granted, particularly people who live in states like New York and California and [who] aren’t paying attention to what’s going on in states like Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas.”

Despite the overwhelmingly negative attitude towards the trans and LGBTQ+ community coming from Republicans, accredited medical groups – including the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Psychological Association – have supported gender-affirming care for minors.

Tennessee has filed a bill that would make it a misdemeanour for drag acts to perform in front of minors

Bills have been filed in the states of Arizona, Arkansas, Montana, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia to ban minors from attending drag shows. If passed into law, these would seek to classify any business that hosts such performances as “sexually oriented”.

Molly Gormley, press secretary for Republican Tennessee senator Jack Johnson, said her state’s bill was aimed at “protecting children from being exposed to sexually explicit drag shows or other performances inappropriate for children”.

Gormley added in an email to NBC News: “It is similar to laws that prohibit children from going to a strip club or that prohibit public nudity.”

PinkNews reported a number of attacks at drag shows across the US last year after a wave of anti-drag vitriol was seen across social media and on TV networks.

Only three states in the country – South Dakota, Rhode Island, and West Virginia – have no record of any attacks, although GLAAD states that unreported incidents could have occurred.

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