It’s only January and 2024 is set to break records with vile anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced in the US
The US has introduced over 250 new anti-LGBTQ+ bills in the first few weeks 2024, and most of them specifically target the trans community.
After a year in which over 500 anti-LGBTQ+ bills were introduced across 49 states – a massive increase since 2022 – the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has reported that it is now tracking 285 horrific bills that target the queer community, with this year on track to break records for the sheer amount of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation introduced.
While not all of these bills will become law, it’s clear that lawmakers across the country using their power and influence to push bigoted legislation has a profoundly negative impact on the mental health and wellbeing of LGBTQ+ folks.
“Transgender people across the country are enduring a historic and dangerous effort to control our bodies and our lives, fuelled by extremist politics with the goal of erasing us from public life,” ACLU attorney Harper Seldin said.
“Taken together, these proposals are a blatant effort to deny transgender people the freedom to be ourselves at school, at work, and the support of the medical care many of us need to live.”
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The legacy of discriminatory laws in 2023 only appears to be continuing into 2024, with a raft of new anti-LGBTQ+ bills being introduced already, as well as several laws being fought over in the courts.
Which new bills have been introduced in 2024?
According to the ACLU, bills currently tracked across the US include 21 proposed drag bans or restrictions, 71 bills affecting gender-affirming care (whether it’s reducing public funding via Medicaid or imposing age limits), and eight bills across the US aiming to redefine sex as biological.
While we can’t delve into the detail of each and every anti-LGBTQ+ bill introduced already in 2024, here are just a few of the concerning bills being introduced across several US states.
- Alabama: After lengthy legal challenges, courts allowed a ban on gender-affirming care – including hormones and puberty blockers – for minors in Alabama to be passed on 11 January. The bill has been described as “devastating” to trans youth.
- Florida: The ACLU lists 10 bills targeting the LGBTQ+ community which are currently on the table in Florida, with one proposal requiring biological sex to be listed on driving licenses.
- Idaho: On 15 January, Idaho politicians approved a bill which could potentially ban books that feature LGBTQ+ people kissing and holding hands, aiming to restrict schools or libraries from making material depicting “nudity or sexual conduct” available to minors.
- Iowa: According to the ACLU, Iowa has introduced 20 anti-LGBTQ+ bills, including a ban on minors attending drag shows, forcing teachers to out trans and non-binary students to their parents, and a ban on trans people using the bathroom that matches their gender identity.
- Kansas: Among 11 bills tracked in Kansas, lawmakers are seeking to classify drag shows as “obscenity”, barring them from taking place at schools or public libraries and affectively outlawing Drag Queen Story Hour in the state.
- Missouri: During a nearly nine-hour long session on 17 January, Missouri politicians debated several bills affecting LGBTQ+ people, including a bill that would allow medical professionals to object to providing gender-affirming care to transgender patients – both children and adults. Four other bills seek to designate public bathrooms and locker rooms by biological sex. The ACLU suggests that 28 anti-LGBTQ+ bills are currently active in Missouri.
- New Hampshire: On 4 January, the New Hampshire House passed a ban on gender-affirming genital surgeries for minors, which is now expected to pass through the state Senate. Gender-affirming surgery for under-18s is already not legal in the majority of countries worldwide, including the US and UK.
- South Carolina: The LGBTQ+ community are vehemently opposing a new bill introduced on 9 January that would ban gender-affirming care for trans minors in the state, as well as banning Medicaid coverage for trans healthcare up to the age of 26. The bill would also reportedly force teachers to ‘out’ trans students to their parents.
- Utah: On 17 January, a bill passed the House committee that would restrict trans people from using public bathrooms that do not match their biological sex.
- West Virginia: On 10 January, lawmakers introduced a bill that would mean a total ban on gender-affirming care for trans people up to the age of 21, and force therapists and social workers in West Virginia to attempt to ‘cure’ young people of being trans. If passed, this bill would extend an existing ban on gender-affirming care on under-18s in the state, passed in 2023. A separate Republican-introduced bill reportedly seeks to classify trans people as “obscene”, and ban them from being within 2,500 feet of a school.
Which bills from 2023 are being challenged?
Several bills from 2023 are being either advanced or challenged in court, with the LGBTQ+ community and allies putting up a fight in many US states.
- Idaho: A federal judge has blocked Idaho’s proposed ban on gender-affirming care, which was set to go into effect on 1 January.
- Louisiana: Families and legal experts have filed a lawsuit in an attempt to block the state’s proposed ban on gender-affirming care for minors.
- Ohio: Ohio Republicans voted on 10 January to override their Republican governor’s veto on a ban on gender-affirming care for minors. The anti-trans bill will now be advanced to the State Senate, and if passed, will make Ohio the 23rd US state to restrict gender-affirming care for young people.
These bills are just some of the legislation still being debated across the US. For a more exhaustive rundown of bills being tracked, visit the Trans Legislation website.
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