5 Anti-LGTBQ+ Bills You Need to Know Beyond “Don’t Say Gay”
by Judy Bokao
As the ink dries on the newly signed “Don’t Say Gay” bill in Florida, new anti-LGTBQ legislation is quickly moving through state legislatures across the U.S. Here are the other discriminatory bills that would impact queer students that need to be on your radar.
Alabama lawmakers have been unrelenting when it comes to passing anti-LGBTQ+ laws, specifically targeting queer youth. Early this year, they approved a law that bars transgender students from using school bathrooms and locker rooms that match their current gender identity. This means that trans students will have to use multi-person restrooms and locker rooms that match the sex on their original birth certificate.
The Alabama Senate also advanced a bill that would ban the use of puberty-blockers, hormonal treatments, and surgeries to assist transgender youth 18 and younger in their gender transition. The bill classifies gender-affirming health care as “child abuse” and calls for anyone providing gender-affirming care to anyone below 18 a possible felony charge and up to 10 years in prison with a $15,000 fine.
Oklahoma became one of the states to enact an anti-trans sports law after the Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt signed the Save Women’s Sports Act this March. The law prohibits transgender athletes from playing on high school and college women’s sports teams. It also mandates that a student’s parent must sign an affidavit acknowledging their child’s sex assigned at birth at the beginning of the school year.
Oklahoma Rep. Justin Humphrey recently proposed SB 1142 which bans certain public school libraries from keeping books about “the study of sex, sexual preferences, sexual activity, sexual perversion, sex-based classifications, sexual identity, or gender identity.” It also prohibits books that are of a sexual nature that a reasonable parent or legal guardian would want to know of or approve of prior to their child being exposed to it. According to the bill, should a parent/guardian request the removal of a book for these reasons, and it is not removed, the parent could get paid $10,000 each day it stays on the shelves.
Arizona has borrowed a page from Alabama and introduced a bill banning some gender-affirming medical procedures for anyone under 18 years old. The House passed House Bill 2161, which requires health care entities and school staff to forcibly out LGBTQ+ children to their parents. According to the bill, parents could sue schools for withholding information concerning any facet of a minor’s health from their parents, including information regarding a student’s gender identity and/or transitioning.
The Republican Gov. Doug Ducey also recently signed into law a bill that prohibits transgender girls and women from playing girls’ and women’s sports. The Governor said that these anti-LGBTQ+ laws are simply “common sense.’’
Tennessee is at the cusp of passing anti-LGBTQ+ legislation and it is deeply concerning that this is the message being sent to its LGBTQ+ occupants. In February, it introduced HB0578 , which would ban gender-confirming therapy to minors and charge parents who violate the law with child abuse. It would also designate violations by healthcare professionals as professional misconduct.
The bill also mandates cut pay for school law enforcement officers who refuse or cannot verify a student’s gender before school athletic participation. It therefore encourages police officers to physically verify a student’s genitals. This is chilling to the bone that such an invasive procedure can be legally carried out to kids simply because they want to participate in sports.
Tennessee is also planning on going a step further with a new law similar to the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. The HB 800 bill has even more restrictive language and covers the entire K-12 spectrum. Students and teachers who are queer or come from a queer family will not be allowed to talk about them in school and will be legally forced to keep their own identities secret.
Texas has also passed anti-LGBTQ+ laws that prohibits trans youth from competing in school-related sports and banned gender-affirming care for anyone below 18. Doctors, nurses, and teachers are now legally required to report parents who aid their child in receiving such care to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS).
The reality is these are not the only states hell-bent on passing anti-LGBTQ+ bills into harmful laws. Iowa, Mississippi and Georgia are all trying to pass restrictive laws similar to Florida. It is terrifying to see the how these politically motivated, anti-LGBTQ+ laws pose such high threats to the lives of people in the queer community. This unprecedented government intrusion in the lives of LGBTQ + students is not protecting anyone. It’s simply making LGBTQ+ students easy targets for discrimination. Life as a queer student is already hard enough without these harmful laws at work. These lawmakers need to be considerate of the emotional, mental, and physical impact these laws will have on the young queer Americans just trying to be themselves.