State attacks on LGBTQI+ rights

Across the country, extremist anti-LGBTQI+ and anti-transgender groups are waging a coordinated campaign to restrict LGBTQI+ rights and specifically target transgender youth. According to Center for American Progress partners at the Federation for Equality, nearly 400 anti-LGBTQI+ bills were introduced nationwide in 2021.* In 2022, state legislatures are currently considering about 300 bills anti-LGBTQI+. Unfortunately, lawmakers in several states – such as Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Iowa, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah and others – have already passed anti-terrorism bills. -LGBTQI+ since the start of 2022. In total, there are currently 14 states with laws outright prohibiting transgender students from participating in school sports consistent with their gender identity, and four have passed laws or taken executive action to prohibit or restrict access to medically necessary care consistent with gender-affirming best practices for transgender youth. These anti-LGBTQI+ attacks endanger the fundamental rights and well-being of LGBTQI+ communities.


Approximate number of anti-LGBTQI+ bills submitted for consideration in 2022


Number of states where LGBTQI+ people are not fully protected against discrimination

Not only does the passage of these measures directly harm LGBTQI+ communities in states, but data also shows that the mere introduction of these types of bills – which are often fueled by hateful and misinformed rhetoric – negatively affects LGBTQI+ communities. , especially young people. For example, data from the Trevor Project shows that 66% of LGBTQ youth, including 85% of transgender and/or non-binary youth, report that recent debates around state laws aimed at restricting the rights of transgender people have negatively affected their Mental Health. Learn more about the proliferation of anti-LGBTQI+ bills and the 2022 legislative landscape for LGBTQI+ rights here.

To draw attention to the dramatic increase in anti-LGBTQI+ legislation in states across the country, CAP launched the “State of LGBTQI+ Rights” newsletter. The newsletter features up-to-date numbers on the number of active anti-LGBTQI+ bills in state legislatures, highlights important calls for action from local partners that readers can easily engage with, lifts content that can be used to raise awareness and provides useful information. resources that explain the harms of these bills.

What kinds of anti-LGBTQI+ legislative attacks are happening in states?

Several types of discriminatory anti-LGBTQI+ bills are progressing in state legislatures across the country:

  • Ban on the participation of transgender youth in school sports: These bills prohibit transgender students from participating in school sports consistent with their gender identity. These unnecessary and harmful bills deprive transgender students of the welfare, educational, and social benefits of equal participation in sports.
  • Health care ban for transgender youth: These bills prevent transgender and non-binary youth from accessing medically necessary, gender-affirming care that meets current best practices and can save lives. In fact, all major relevant medical associations, including the American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, and American Psychological Association, agree that gender-affirming care is medically necessary for transgender youth.
  • Curriculum censorship: These bills prohibit or severely limit the content schools can teach about race, racism, history, sexism, and LGBTQI+ people and issues, undermining the expertise of trained educators and fostering a learning environment hostile to students.
  • Restrictions on the use of single-sex facilities: These laws discriminate against transgender people by denying them access to toilets, changing rooms and other sex-segregated facilities that correspond to their gender identity. Evidence shows that these policies are harmful to the health, safety and well-being of transgender people.
  • Access restricted to specific identification: These bills impose onerous and intrusive requirements and prohibitive costs that create barriers for transgender and gender non-conforming people seeking to change their gender markers on their identification documents, such as driver’s licenses and passports, to accurately reflect their lived gender. Consistent and accurate identification documents are essential for performing many daily tasks, and gender-inconsistent identification can lead to discrimination and violence.
  • License to discriminate: These pieces of legislation impose overly broad religious exemptions that remove essential safeguards that protect people accessing government-funded services from discrimination based on religion. These bills can apply to a variety of settings, such as taxpayer-funded child protection services and health care.

Recent resources from the LGBTQI+ research and communication project

Partner Resources

The LGBTQI+ Research and Communications Project partners with many state and national LGBTQI+ advocacy organizations that are working hard to combat these anti-LGBTQI+ attacks. Want to learn more about state-specific activities and dig deeper into the harms of these bills? Check out some of these amazing resources from our partners:

  • For details on state-specific bills in your state and across the country, check out these interactive maps from the Equality Federation.
  • In-depth analyzes of state policies and maps on bills banning transgender students from participating in school sports, barring transgender youth from accessing best-practice medical care, restricting access to identity documents and censoring school curricula are available from the Movement Advancement Project.
  • To learn more about issues affecting LGBTQ youth, check out the latest data from the Trevor Project.
  • Data from a nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute poll illustrates the broad and diverse base of support for non-discrimination laws to protect LGBTQI+ communities.

The need to pass the Equality Act

Discrimination remains a real and pervasive issue for LGBTQI+ people. LGBTQI+ Americans are not fully protected from discrimination in 29 states, and according to a 2020 nationally representative survey by the Center for American Progress and the University of Chicago’s NORC, more than one LGBTQI+ adult in 3 have experienced some form of discrimination in the past year, including 2 in 5 LGBTQI+ people of color and more than 3 in 5 transgender people. The Equality Act would strengthen and expand federal civil rights laws to provide clear, consistent, and comprehensive anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQI+ people in all states. Check out the Center for American Progress’s deep dive into the importance of the Equality Act’s anti-discrimination protections and act now to tell your senator to pass this crucial civil rights legislation.

You can follow the work of the LGBTQI+ research and communication project on Twitter @LGBTQProgress.

* The bill tally is based on the Equality Federation’s “Legislative Report 2021”. The report, provided to the Center for American Progress by the Equality Federation on January 21, 2022, is on file with the authors.

** This survey, which includes a sample of 1,528 LGBTQI+-identifying adults, was conducted jointly by the Center for American Progress and NORC at the University of Chicago and was weighted to account for both characteristics of the American population and non-response to the survey. The full results of the study, along with a detailed outline of the methodology, are on file with the authors. For more information on the survey results, please see related information from the Center for American Progress. report and interactive data.

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