‘State of emergency’ for every LGBTQ+ person in US declared by Human Rights Campaign

A person holds up a sign reading 'respect my existence' during a protest in favour of trans rights and against the Tory government

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has declared a national “state of emergency” for LGBTQ+ people in the US for the first time in its history.

On Tuesday (6 June), the HRC – the largest LGBTQ+ political lobbying organisation within the US – made its statement following an “unprecedented and dangerous spike in anti-LGBTQ+ legislative assaults sweeping state houses this year”. 

Kelley Robinson, the group’s president, said: “LGBTQ+ Americans are living in a state of emergency. The multiplying threats facing millions in our community are not just perceived, they are real, tangible and dangerous.

“In many cases, they are resulting in violence against LGBTQ+ people, forcing families to uproot their lives and flee their homes in search of safer states, and triggering a tidal wave of increased homophobia and transphobia that puts the safety of each and every one of us at risk.” 

Robinson said the HRC, which was found in 1980, will continue to work to ensure queer people are supplied with information and resources required to ensure their safety. 

Statistics released by the organisation in its LGBTQ+ Americans Under Attack report, reveal that more than 76 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been signed into law in the US this year alone, more than any other year on record.

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Detailed in the report is acknowledgment of more than 525 bills being introduced in 41 states across the US, with more than 220 targeting trans people. 

According to the statistics, there are 21 states that implement trans sports bans, affecting 90,100 of the estimated 300,100 transgender youth aged between 13 and 17 in the US. 

Meanwhile, trans healthcare bans are in place in 20 states, meaning 30.9 per cent of all trans youth of the same age are unable to access life-saving medical care, while bathroom bans in nine states have an impact on 243,000 of the approximately 1.6 million transgender people in the US. 

Referring to the anti-LGBTQ+ bills sweeping Florida, Nadine Smith, the chief executive of Equality Florida, said: “It is heart-breaking to witness families uproot themselves in search of access to healthcare and inclusive classrooms, free from book bans and censorship.” 

Smith added that this “assault on freedom is not limited to one state but permeates across America”. 

‘Mass migration’ from Florida

Last month, the HRC and Equality Florida issued travel warnings for LGBTQ+ people, telling them to “reconsider” visiting or moving to the state. 

Meanwhile, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People issued a warning, stating that Florida is “openly hostile toward African Americans, people of colour and LGBTQ+ individuals”.

In June, chief executive and president of Lake County Pride, Danielle Olivani, said governor Ron DeSantis’ torrent of anti-LGBTQ+ laws have led to a “mass migration” out of Florida, a claim supported by the number of trans people flocking to GoFundMe to raise money to leave the state. 

Olivani’s comment followed SB 254 passing the Republican-controlled state senate on 4 May. The bill requires trans adults seeking gender-affirming healthcare to sign a consent form and prevents Medicaid, the government healthcare insurer, covering gender affirming care for people of any age. 

The bill is the latest addition to Florida’s host of anti-LGBTQ+ bills implemented by presidential hopeful DeSantis, including legislation banning trans people from toilets that align with their gender, and one which bans Pride parades, as well as the further expansion of Don’t Say Gay, which now prohibits teachers from using trans students’ preferred pronouns. 

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