Eight in 10 LGBTQ+ Americans fear for safety as bigotry sweeps nation, study finds

Canada's travel advisory has been updated to warn LGBTQ+ travellers about the US.

New data has revealed the staggering pressure LGBTQ+ Americans are under following the wave of homophobic and transphobic legislation that has swept US states.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), an LGBTQ+ nonprofit organisation, revealed in data analysis published on Wednesday (16 August) that almost 80 per cent of LGBTQ+ adults feel less safe amid the rise in right-wing laws across the US.

For trans and non-binary adults, this number is significantly higher, with more than nine in 10 (94 per cent) feeling unsafe in the US.

Results were pulled from a Community Marketing Insight (CMI) survey as part of its 17th annual LGBTQ+ Community Survey, which HRC co-sponsored.

Questions were based upon the 550 anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced in more than 40 states across the US since the beginning of 2023, more than 80 of which have been signed into law.

Twenty-one states in the country have enacted laws banning gender-affirming care for trans youth under the false pretence that under-18s are being put through surgeries, despite no medical organisation anywhere allowing children to undergo them.

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Forty-three per cent of LGBTQ+ adults report that gender-affirming care bans have impacted the physical and/or mental well-being of themselves, their friends and family.

Meanwhile, over 80 per cent of trans and non-binary adults report the same.

“Just two months after HRC declared a national state of emergency for LGBTQ+ people, this survey reveals that the current climate of hostility and fear is only growing worse,” HRC president Kelley Robinson said in a statement.

“Gender-affirming care bans are taking a detrimental toll on the physical and mental health of LGBTQ+ Americans,” she continued.

“Extremist, anti-LGBTQ+ politicians and their allies are waging a dangerous and cruel misinformation campaign that seeks to stigmatise not only gender-affirming care but transgender and non-binary people as well.

“The rhetoric and misinformation is having a virtually universal impact on LGBTQ+ people, and further plunging us into a state of emergency that’s threatening the health and safety of every LGBTQ+ person.”

Fear of safety significantly worse in Florida, data reveals

The report also revealed that LGBTQ+ people in Florida are more likely to feel anxious about their own safety following governor Ron DeSantis’ anti-LGBTQ+ attacks.

Nearly 80 per cent of trans and non-binary adults living in Florida have said that gender-affirming care bans impact their physical or mental health, while almost 90 per cent have either taken steps or want to take steps to move to a new state or country.

Over 93 per cent have said gender-affirming care bans make them feel less safe in the state.

Equality Florida executive director, Nadine Smith, said in a statement: “The results of this survey make clear that we Floridians will be repairing that damage of anti-LGBTQ+ laws passed in this state for years to come.

“Conferences are cancelling, talent is fleeing, and the best and brightest are abandoning our universities, while LGBTQ+ people are feeling more unsafe than ever before.

“These attacks have to stop.”

In April, the Human Rights Campaign issued a warning against LGBTQ+ travellers visiting Florida, telling potential tourists to “reconsider” any plans they may have had.