Honoring Pride Amidst a Record-Breaking Number of Anti-LGBTQ Bills in State Legislatures

Open to All
5 min readJun 29


Pride seems different this year for many, with a record-breaking 600+ anti-LGBTQ bills introduced during this legislative session alone. With laws restricting access to education, school sports, bathrooms, and healthcare, anti-LGBTQ extremists are launching cruel, coordinated attacks.

The Movement Advancement Project (MAP) recently briefed Open to All’s business partners on the flood of anti-LGBTQ legislation introduced in state legislatures. MAP’s ongoing Under Fire series sheds light on current attacks on the LGBTQ community while connecting these assaults to a larger goal of erasing LGBTQ people from public life. MAP also tracks over 50 LGBTQ-related laws and policies in every state, plus Washington, D.C., and the five U.S. territories, through their Equality Maps.

In the past few years, legislators have unleashed targeted attacks on LGBTQ people, especially transgender individuals, across practically every aspect of daily life. So far, in 2023, we have not only broken last year’s record number of anti-LGBTQ bills, but we’ve more than doubled the number of bills introduced this year. As homophobic and transphobic bills continue to inundate state legislatures, we’re on the verge of tripling the number of anti-LGBTQ measures passed this year alone.

Erasing LGBTQ People from Schools

Despite a recent resurgence in “Don’t Say Gay” laws, efforts to erase LGBTQ people from school settings are nothing new. This type of legislation dates back to the late 1980s; when, amidst the height of the HIV and AIDS epidemic, states passed similar laws mandating how we communicate to our children about LGBTQ people and the issues affecting them, including HIV and AIDS. Today, ten states have enacted “Don’t Say LGBTQ” censorship laws banning mention of sexual orientation and gender identity in public schools. Three more states have laws that require schools to notify parents ahead of time if LGBTQ people or histories are to be discussed in the classroom. Much like other curriculum bans that restrict discussion of slavery and racism, they are all blatant attacks meant to undermine the ability of children to obtain a quality education that reflects both the true history of our country and the diversity of the world around them.

Barring Transgender Athletes from School Sports

In January 2021, just one state, Idaho, had implemented a ban prohibiting transgender children from playing school sports. In today’s world, 22 states have passed laws barring transgender kids from playing with their friends in school-sponsored sporting programs. This indicates that nearly one in three transgender children lives in a state that actively limits their ability to play sports with their peers. Sports have been shown to improve children’s emotional and physical well-being, yet these transphobic laws deny transgender kids access to these benefits.

Limiting Bathroom Use

Much like sports-related bans, bathroom bans are another form of legislation rooted in scare tactics and stereotypes. At the start of 2021, not a single state had enacted any kind of bathroom ban. Currently, nine states have legislation in place restricting transgender people’s bathroom use, which means about one in six transgender people live in a state with some kind of bathroom ban.

Earlier this year, Florida passed the most stringent bathroom ban to date. Not only does it prohibit transgender people from using bathrooms and facilities matching their gender identity in public school settings, but it also bars their use of restrooms in virtually any publicly owned or publicly leased facility. This includes state, county, and municipal government buildings, public parks, airports, and stadiums, among other public spaces. Not to mention, it’s a felony to break this law in Florida, meaning transgender individuals risk jail time for using bathroom facilities aligned with their gender identity.

Blocking Access to Best-Practice Medical Care

Gender-affirming healthcare is backed by decades of research and experience and is supported by every major medical association in the country. State governments, on the other hand, have opted to undertake concerted attacks on such care. There are now 20 states with some level of ban or restriction on best-practice medical care. Originally, we witnessed these attacks targeting transgender youth, but they’re quickly expanding to limit transgender adults’ access to healthcare as well. In Missouri, for example, the Attorney General issued an “emergency rule” that, had it gone into effect, would have banned health care not only for all transgender kids but for all transgender adults as well. Thankfully, that rule was blocked by a lawsuit, and the Attorney General later terminated the rule because the State passed a legislative ban that was mostly limited to kids.

MAP recently published a report analyzing every medical care bill introduced in the past five years. Their research revealed that each year, an increasing number of these laws and policies apply to adults. In 2020, for example, only 4% of the medical care bills introduced applied to at least some adults. This year, however, 29% of the bills have a provision that affects some adults.

Many organizations, whether state, local, or national, are working feverishly to derail as many of these bills as possible. There’s also a host of lawsuits addressing the many facets of these laws. But it will take commitment from all of us to condemn these efforts and implement policies that are supportive and inclusive of everyone.

Donating directly to mutual aid efforts is one way to show support for the LGBTQ community. Many groups are raising funds to support travel for transgender people who can no longer receive medical care in their state, or for those looking to relocate states altogether. Individuals can also help by supporting local LGBTQ community centers. These organizations provide services ranging from healthcare to educational programming to local community members. In the same vein, advocacy organizations, like PFLAG and Equality Federation, are fighting to combat these bills before they become law.

Policies put into place by state legislatures severely impact an LGBTQ individual’s right to live fairly. In the United States, LGBTQ people, especially transgender people, are experiencing tremendously different lives with dramatically different rights simply dependent on where they happen to live. This polarization will only worsen if we don’t fight back in the name of diversity, equity, and inclusion.



Open to All

At a time of deep divisions, we’re joining together from all walks of life and work to build a thriving and inclusive nation where all are welcome.