After a record year in 2023 for anti-LGBTQ+ bills at the state level, 2024 is off to a bad start.
In 2023, more than 550 anti-LGBTQ+ bills were introduced across 43 states, and more than 80 were passed into law.
In the first month of 2024, 285 anti-LGBTQ+ bills were introduced in state houses, the American Civil Liberties Union said.
Many of these bills are carryovers from 2023.
These bills would limit LGBTQ+ people’s rights in education, health care, public accommodations, free speech and expression, and more:
- 130 would restrict students’ and teachers’ rights through curriculum censorship, forced outing of students, and other regulations.
- 71 would place age restrictions on health care, mostly with age restrictions.
- 21 would ban drag shows.
- Other bills would weaken civil rights laws by defining men and women according to reproductive capacity or prevent transgender people from changing their gender marker on official documents.
As with previous anti-LGBTQ+ measures, many of the bills specifically target trans people.
“Transgender people across the country are enduring a historic and dangerous effort to control our bodies and our lives, fueled by extremist politics with the goal of erasing us from public life,” ACLU attorney Harper Seldin told The Hill.
“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,” he added. “We at the ACLU and our nationwide affiliate network stand ready to defend our freedoms and our families from this baseless assault.”
The bills introduced are largely in the South and Midwest. Some are in Republican-dominated states that already have passed anti-LGBTQ+ laws, such as Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Kentucky, Tennessee, Iowa, and Missouri.
Other bills, however, are in Democratic-governed states where they have little chance of passage, such as Illinois, Minnesota, and Washington.
But even when these types of bills do not pass, they still do harm, the ACLU said, as debate over them includes hateful rhetoric.
LGBTQ+ youth people feel particularly threatened, according to a Trevor Project study last year.