By Chris Walker / Truthout
Several different legislative trackers have noted that, in the first five months of this year leading up to Pride Month, which began on June 1, hundreds of anti-LGBTQ bills have been proposed in statehouses across the country, with dozens of them passing.
A tracker managed by Erin Reed, a transgender journalist and activist who provides daily updates on LGBTQ-focused legislation (both negative and positive bills), found that more than 530 anti-LGBTQ bills have been drafted and proposed in state legislatures and in Congress. Of those bills, which were submitted between January 1 and May 31, 68 have been enacted into law, with only 122 officially failing so far.
The rest of the bills are either in legislative limbo or still being considered.
Separate groups have provided different counts that, while not exactly the same number as the aforementioned tracker, have the same findings — that hundreds of bills across the country are targeting LGBTQ people, particularly transgender individuals.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has tracked, for example, 491 anti-LGBTQ bills in statehouses across the country (their count does not include federal legislation). The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), meanwhile, has counted 520 bills introduced this year, a number they say is a record high for the amount of anti-LGBTQ bills proposed by this date in any year.
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“This weaponization of public policy has been driven by extremist groups that have a long history in working to oppress the existence and rights of LGBTQ+ people,” HRC says on its tracker, citing far right groups such as the Alliance Defending Freedom and the Family Research Council as pushers of such proposals.
Many of the bills that are out there, particularly the proposals targeting transgender people, ignore scientific consensus on gender and contradict the advice of all major U.S. medical associations. Close to 150 bills, for example, seek to ban gender-affirming care for trans people, mostly for children but some also for adults, even though mainstream medical groups recognize that such care is life-saving treatment.
In spite of these many legislative attacks, which activists and allies have routinely pointed out are attempts to eradicate LGBTQ people from public life, Reed has said they should not deter people from celebrating during Pride Month — and renewing their dedication toward LGBTQ liberation.
“The history of the LGBTQ+ community is one of thriving in the face of adversity, even when they push us into the margins,” Reed said in a Substack post she wroteon the “daunting push of 530 anti-trans bills across America.”
Reed went on to say:
We carry forward a potent legacy, one of not merely surviving but flourishing even in the margins where we’ve been relegated. We return, time and time again, stronger than ever before.
“If the recent transgender visibility marches are any indication, we might be on the brink of witnessing the most substantial Pride celebrations in recent memory,” Reed said.
She concluded by noting that the “growing crowds” of LGBTQ people and their allies reveal that anti-LGBTQ bigots and lawmakers “have failed in their goal.”
“We are still here; they couldn’t eradicate us. No matter how many laws they pass, we still will gather in our streets,” Reed concluded. “We will celebrate their failure and our fight for liberation for an entire month. No matter how many of us they harm, Pride will always be a protest and our queer joy will be our resistance.”
Chris Walker is a news writer at Truthout, and is based out of Madison, Wisconsin. Focusing on both national and local topics since the early 2000s, he has produced thousands of articles analyzing the issues of the day and their impact on the American people. He can be found on Twitter: @thatchriswalker