US scores a lowly ‘C’ grade on global LGBTQ+ rights barometer

Protesters carry placards reading "trans rights are human rights"

The US has scored a lowly “C” in a worldwide study of LGBTQ+ human rights.

Looking at LGBTQ+ rights across the planet from 2011 to 2020, the annual Franklin & Marshall Global Barometers Report gave the US a mark that represents a country “resistant” to queer rights. 

The new score shows a slip from a “B” in 2016, with the report stating that it was the lowest score among countries and territories that had legalised same-sex marriage. Every other country where equal marriage has been legalised, including the UK, recorded an “A” or a “B”.

The report rated each country’s LGB and transgender rights separately, with the US ranking 54th in the world on gay rights and 62nd for trans rights.

Worst in the world, according to the rankings, was Yemen for gay rights and South Sudan for trans rights, both scoring an “F”, which represents “persecuting”. 

Ten countries consistently scored “A”s from 2011 to 2020: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, England, Luxembourg, Norway, Scotland, Spain, Sweden and Uruguay.

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Susan Dicklitch-Nelson, a professor of government at Franklin & Marshall College, who launched the study, told The 19th that the US rating is likely to decline even further because of intensifying anti-LGBTQ+ legislation.

“You’ll probably see a lot lower grades because if one state violates one of the items that we’re looking at, the whole country gets to zero. So, there’ll be a downgrade for the United States,” Dicklitch-Nelson said.

“With the anti-drag laws in Tennessee and Florida, a lot of LGBT rights organisations are not able to peacefully or safely assemble.”

Worldwide LGBTQ+ rights measurements for 2020. (Franklin & Marshall Global Barometers Report)

While the study looks at countries up to 2020, LGBTQ+ rights have been eroding across the United States in the years since. In June, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) declared a “state of emergency” for queer people in the country for the first time, due to an “unprecedented and dangerous spike in anti-LGBTQ+ legislative assaults”.  

HRC president Kelley Robinson 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.” 

Legislation introduced across America this year include trans sports bans, limits on gender-affirming care for trans people, attempted drag bans and an expansion of ‘Don’t Say Gay’ in Florida, which prohibits LGBTQ+ issues being talked about in the Sunshine State’s classrooms. 

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