Republicans have filed more than 200 anti-LGBT bills in bid to roll back rights
More than 200 anti-LGBT bills have been filed in state legislatures across the US, as Republicans seek to push back against LGBT+ rights.
Recent major state-level efforts across the US have sought to permit anti-LGBT discrimination in adoption and services, to mandate anti-trans discrimination in schools, and to outlaw medical treatment for young trans people.
The Equality Federation says there are currently 226 bills active that could undermine the rights of LGBT+ people.
Republicans submit a flood of anti-LGBT bills across the US
Speaking to NBC News, the group’s advocacy director David Topping said there has been a “huge rash of anti-LGBTQ legislation” since the Supreme Court ruled in favour of same-sex marriage in 2015.
He said: “It feels like every state Legislature, every year, is trying to push some kind of anti-LGBTQ agenda.”
Activists say that many of the bills with the greatest momentum are targeting transgender children.
Rose Saxe of the American Civil Liberties Union told NBC: “The targeting of kids is really unique this year. It’s really shocking, the depth of attack on trans youth.”
Saxe explained that identikit bills often originate from anti-LGBT lobbying groups like Alliance Defending Freedom and the Heritage Foundation, who “shop around” their pre-drafted legislation to friendly lawmakers in a number of states.
The vast majority of the bills will likely not become law, but some concerning measures have already passed – with Tennessee governor Bill Lee signing a bill into law last month that allows religious adoption agencies to deny service to queer couples.
The areas most vulnerable to anti-LGBT bills passing are those where Republicans have full control of the state legislature and Governor’s mansion.
Medical experts say bills to ban treatment for trans teens could cause massive harm
However, experts are fighting back.
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On Wednesday, more than 200 medical professionals from across the South signed a joint statement opposing legislation prohibiting doctors from providing medically necessary care to transgender children under the age of 18.
Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara of the Campaign for Southern Equality said: “We’re determined to resist these coordinated attacks against transgender youth carried out in so many states this year, the latest installment in a decades long effort by anti-LGBTQ organizations to stigmatize the LGBTQ community.
“We forcefully reject the politics of fear and prejudice that are at the root of these anti-transgender bills. We stand in support of transgender youth and we’re grateful for all of the Southern medical professionals who are using their voices to strongly support the inherent dignity of all of their patients.
“We’ll never stop working toward a South where we all have every opportunity to thrive – including the basic right to receive the healthcare everyone needs to live their most authentic, fulfilling lives.”
Dr. Mike Guyton, a physician in Greenville, South Carolina, said: “As a physician I took an oath to do no harm – but withholding medically necessary care from my transgender patients would absolutely cause long-term harm.
“Enacting this disturbing anti-transgender legislation would prohibit me and other medical providers from doing our jobs, forcing us to violate existing standards of medical care for transgender patients. I join so many of my colleagues across the South in urging lawmakers to reject these dangerous and discriminatory bills.”