2021 is could set a new, terrible record – the highest number of anti-LGBTQ bills enacted into state law in US history. So far this year, 8 laws have been enacted across the country discriminating against LGBTQ people, particularly transgender people and transgender youth and there are 10 more that need only the signature of a governor to become law. These laws vary widely in what they would do. Some prevent transgender youth from getting gender-affirming surgery or prevent them from using the bathroom corresponding to their gender. Others use the language of “religious freedom” to allow people to discriminate against LGBTQ people. All of them reinforce prejudice and hatred against LGBTQ people.
These bills and laws have a ripple effect too. A doctor in Arkansas who works with trans youth said that after Arkansas passed a law to prevent trans youth from transitioning, four young trans people she worked with attempted suicide. Other youth asked if they could get drugs to transition on the black market.
Activists have been trying to fight back against these bills across the country. And in some states, they have had some success. In Arizona, the governor, Doug Ducey, vetoed a bill that would have required any mention of LGBTQ people in the school curriculum to be accompanied by a note home to parents. The Republican governor in Arkansas, Asa Hutchinson, vetoed a bill that would have prevented trans youth from receiving medical care to transition – although his veto was later overridden by the state legislature.
But the fact that politicians are introducing these laws in the first place is appalling. All of the laws are horrific and dehumanize LGBTQ people. Even when they don’t pass, they give cover for the prejudice, discrimination, hatred and violence that LGBTQ people face. To introduce or entertain the idea of these laws is despicable.