UPDATE: With Unprecedented 18 Anti-LGBTQ Bills Enacted, 2021 Officially Becomes Worst Year in Recent History for LGBTQ State Legislative Attacks
With Anti-LGBTQ Momentum Sweeping through State Legislatures, 2021 Surpasses 2015 as Worst Year In Recent History
Detailed Breakdown of 2021 Anti-LGBTQ State Legislation Below
With an unprecedented number of anti-LGBTQ measures sweeping through state legislatures across the country, 2021 has officially surpassed 2015 as the worst year for anti-LGBTQ legislation in recent history, according to updated tracking and analysis by the Human Rights Campaign (detailed breakdown below). The previous record — set six years ago in 2015, when 15 anti-LGBTQ bills were enacted into law — was broken on Friday, as the sixteenth and seventeenth anti-LGBTQ bills were enacted into law as well as the eighteenth anti-LGBTQ bill today. In addition, 7 anti-LGBTQ bills are on governors’ desks awaiting signature or veto and several more are continuing to move through state legislatures across the country.
“The rights of LGBTQ people — and especially transgender people — across the country are being systematically threatened and undermined by national anti-LGBTQ groups coordinating with anti-equality lawmakers to wage an unprecedented war on the LGBTQ community. In fact, some of these bills are similar to or even worse than anti-LGBTQ legislation that has been rejected in previous years, including the Indiana religious refusal bill of 2015 and North Carolina’s infamous HB2. Bills that have become law so far this year range from making it a felony to provide transgender youth with life saving health care to banning transgender girls from participating in sports to erasing LGBTQ people from school curriculum to granting broad licenses to discriminate against LGBTQ people. This crisis cannot be ignored and necessitates concrete action from all those with the ability to speak out,” said Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David. “These bills are not only harmful and discriminatory, but also represent a failure in our democracy and the commitment elected officials make to protect and serve their constituents. Now is not the time for reluctance or passivity, it is time to take urgent action to protect the basic rights and humanity of LGBTQ people in America.”
The wave of anti-LGBTQ legislation — a coordinated push led by national anti-LGBTQ groups, not local lawmakers – is part of a broader strategy to score political points with the conservative base by curtailing the rights of LGBTQ people and specifically trans youth — under the guise of responding to nonexistent and baseless threats. These bills represent a cruel effort to further stigmatize and discriminate against LGBTQ people across the country, specifically trans youth who simply want to live as their true selves and grow into who they are.
Breakdown of Anti-LGBTQ Legislation Sweeping State Legislatures in 2021
- So far in 2021, eighteen anti-LGBTQ bills have been enacted into law surpassing 2015 as the worst year for anti-LGBTQ legislation in recent history (when 15 anti-LGBTQ bills were enacted into law), including:
- 7 anti-trans sports bans in Arkansas, Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, Montana, and West Virginia
- 4 religious refusal bills, including in Arkansas, Montana, and South Dakota
- 2 anti-LGBTQ education bills in Tennessee and Montana
- 1 anti-trans medical care ban bill in Arkansas
- 1 sham “hate crimes” bill in Arkansas
- 1 anti-all comers bill in North Dakota
- 1 anti-trans birth certificate bill in Montana
- 1 discriminatory diversity training ban bill in Oklahoma
- With eighteen bills now signed into law, states have enacted more anti-LGBTQ laws this year than in the last three years combined (anti-LGBTQ bills enacted in previous years include 2 bills in 2018, 7 bills in 2019, and 4 bills in 2020).
- More than 250 anti-LGBTQ bills have been introduced in state legislatures in 2021, including:
- At least 35 bills that would prohibit transgender youth from being able to access best-practice, age-appropriate, gender-affirming medical care
- At least 69 bills that would prohibit transgender youth (and in some cases college students) from participating in sports consistent with their gender identity
- At least 43 bills that would allow people to assert a religious belief as justification for failing to abide by the law or provide services to people of whom they disapprove
- At least 15 bills that would prohibit transgender people from having access to restrooms or locker rooms consistent with their gender identity
Wide range of business and advocacy groups oppose anti-trans legislation
- More than 90 major U.S. corporations have stood up and spoke out to oppose anti-transgender legislation being proposed in states across the country. New companies like Facebook, Pfizer, Altria, Peloton, and Dell join companies like Amazon, American Airlines, Apple, AT&T, AirBnB, Google, Hilton, IBM, IKEA, Microsoft, Nike, Paypal, Uber, and Verizon in objecting to these bills. Four of the largest U.S. food companies also condemned “dangerous, discriminatory legislation that serves as an attack on LGBTQ+ individuals, particularly transgender and nonbinary people,” and the Walton Family Foundation issued a statement expressing “alarm” at the trend of anti-transgender legislation that has recently become law in Arkansas.
- The nation’s leading child health and welfare groups representing more than 7 million youth-serving professionals and more than 1000 child welfare organizations released an open letter calling for lawmakers in states across the country to oppose dozens of bills that target LGBTQ people, and transgender children in particular.
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organizations working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.