More anti-LGBTQ+ bills have already been filed this year than all of 2022

More anti-LGBTQ+ bills have already been filed this year than all of 2022
MAR 5, 2023: Sunday Rally to Resist. 2,000 people rallied outside the Iowa State Capitol in support of LGBTQ rights and against anti-LGBTQ bills moving through the legislature. Photo: Shutterstock

Almost 400 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have already been filed this year – more than the total number filed in 2022.

The bills have been filed across 38 states, with legislation more than tripling since January. The American Civil Liberties Union tracks these hateful bills with a map that allows viewers to search by state, issue, or status. It says 7 of these bills have become law, 322 have advanced, 43 have been defeated, and 17 have been introduced as of publication.

“While not all of these bills will become law, they all cause harm for LGBTQ people,” the ACLU notes in its tracker.

The state with the most anti-LGBTQ+ bills is Oklahoma, with 35, Missouri, with 34, and Texas, with 29.

School and education is the top category under which the bills fall, with 184 targeting students and teachers. The second most common category is healthcare, as politicians nationwide seek to ban gender-affirming care. 108 bills currently target healthcare.

The top two categories far outweigh the others, with the third most common issue dropping to 37 bills targeting free speech and expression.

Despite the grim outlook, queer people and allies are mobilizing against anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in states across the country. Beyond that, a report from the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) found that less than 10 percent of the anti-LGBTQ+ bills proposed in 2022 actually became law. The report also noted that 24 pro-equality bills became law in 2022.

While HRC celebrated the great news that LGBTQ+ activists fighting these bills have been largely successful, the organization pointed out the devastating effects that even one anti-LGBTQ+ law can have, in addition to the mental health effects LGBTQ+ people experience by the mere proposal of so many hateful bills.

“These bills are terrible public policy, and we are also deeply cognizant of how every harmful anti-LGBTQ+ bill that is signed into law has a devastating impact on the lives and well-being of LGBTQ+ people, particularly children,” said Human Rights Campaign Senior Vice President of Policy and Political Affairs JoDee Winterhof.

“The legislative assault and hateful rhetoric towards our community has also led to more stigma, discrimination, and ultimately, suicide and deadly violence – particularly against the transgender community. As we continue our fight for LGBTQ+ equality, this report underscores that equality is the winning side of this issue.”

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