The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is tracking 385 anti-LGBTQ bills filed by lawmakers across 38 states targeting the vulnerable community on at least seven broad issues including schools and education, healthcare, free speech, access to accurate IDs, public accommodations, weakening of civil rights laws, marriage, and more. The number of anti-LGBTQ bills introduced has more than tripled since mid-January, and far exceeded the total number of bills introduced in all of 2022, which was 278.
Oklahoma has the most anti-LGBTQ bills so far at 35, followed by Missouri (34), Texas (29 bills), Tennessee (26), Iowa (28), Mississippi (24), Indiana. and North Dakota (17 each), South Carolina (16), Kansas, Virginia, and West Virginia (12 each), and Arizona, Florida, and Kentucky (11 each).
The ACLU says its list is updated weekly (although it increased as NCRM was writing this article) and says it only includes bills filed through last Friday, March 3.
"While not all of these bills will become law, they all cause harm for LGBTQ people," the ACLU notes.
Studies have shown that when an anti-LGBTQ bill is introduced, LGBTQ people, and especially LGBTQ youth, suffer heightened emotional distress.
Not all bills cover only a single issue. For example, in Florida, HB 1421 attacks issues related to health care, public accommodations, and civil rights.
Civil rights attorney and activist Alejandra Caraballo, a Harvard Law School Cyberlaw Clinic instructor who also tracks anti-LGBTQ legislation, says "HB 1421 not only bans care for minors, it will severely limit and disrupt access to care for all trans adults by eliminating most providers and private insurance coverage."
That bill's sponsor, Florida Republican state Rep. Randy Fine served up his own take on the anti-trans legislation: "The butchering of children will be illegal in Florida, Florida citizens will not be obligated to pay for the sexual mutilation of adults, and those tricked into this evil will have 30 years to sue those who misled them. That’s HB 1421 and I am proud to file it."
Fine is no stranger to extremism. Last year he issued what appeared to be a threat against President Joe Biden, after the President addressed the nation hours after 19 second, third, and fourth-grade school children and two teachers were massacred in one of the nation’s worst mass shootings. Previously, Fine was once investigated but not prosecuted for cyberintimidation, among other allegations.