The Human Rights Campaign Issues LGBTQ+ State of Emergency
A first in four decades, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) issued a national emergency declaration for LGBTQ+ Americans.
The announcement was issued Monday, June 5, during the first week of Pride month, a time dedicated to recognizing and celebrating people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer, among others.
In a news release, the nation's largest nonprofit human rights organization cited an "unprecedented and dangerous spike in anti-LGBTQ+ legislative assaults sweeping state houses this year."
"LGBTQ+ Americans are living in a state of emergency," said Kelley Robinson, the HRC president, in a news release. "The multiplying threats facing millions in our community are not just perceived—they are real, tangible and dangerous. In many cases they are resulting in violence against LGBTQ+ people, forcing families to uproot their lives and flee their homes in search of safer states, and triggering a tidal wave of increased homophobia and transphobia that puts the safety of each and every one of us at risk."
In conjunction with the declaration, HRC released a new report, "LGBTQ+ Americans Under Attack," detailing more than 75 anti-LGBTQ+ bills signed into law in 2023, plus a downloadable guidebook for people traveling through states unfriendly to LGBTQ+ rights.
More than 500 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been filed in state legislatures across the country so far in 2023, according to the Human Rights Campaign.
"As we kick off LGBTQ+ Pride Month, HRC will be working tirelessly to educate and arm the LGBTQ+ community with information and resources to ensure their safety—whether they're planning summer travel through regions that are becoming increasingly hostile to LGBTQ+ people, or whether they already live in a state where legislative assaults and political extremism are continuing to put a target on our backs," Robinson said.
On the move
According to HRC, anti-LGBTQ+ laws have already caused residents to relocate to more friendly states.
"When a child's basic needs are not being met, or when a child is neglected or endangered in the home, Child Protective Services is called," said Daniel, the father of a transgender Floridian who recently moved to Minnesota, in the news release. "But what happens when it's the state that's endangering a child? When the state is not allowing basic needs to be met? We have become our own version of Child Protective Services, and removed our child from the danger and neglect from the state."
Of the states restricting the rights of LGBTQ+ Americans, Florida has been one of the most aggressive, particularly toward transgender individuals.
On Tuesday, June 6, a federal court order halted Florida's latest ban on gender-affirming healthcare for transgender youth.
"Florida stands at the forefront of the fight against these oppressive laws now proliferating throughout the nation," said Nadine Smith, CEO of Equality Florida, in HRC's news release. "It is heartbreaking to witness families uproot themselves in search of access to healthcare and inclusive classrooms, free from book bans and censorship. Our universities, once renowned for their talent and innovation, are witnessing a drain of exceptional educators and students who now seek refuge in places where academic freedom and excellence prevail over political indoctrination."
Most recently, the Florida LGBTQ+ battle moved to Florida's Walt Disney World, located in Orlando, where the amusement park is scheduled to host "Gay Days," blatantly defying the state's "Don't Say Gay" law.
In March 2022, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the "Parental Rights in Education" bill into law, banning public school teachers in the state from teaching students about sexual orientation or gender identity.
"Our state's economy has lost over $1 billion as businesses and conferences withdraw their investment in our state," Smith said about the anti-LGBTQ+ economic impact on Florida. "The assault on freedom is not limited to one state but permeates across America. The erosion of civil liberties by extremists to further their own political ambitions poses a direct threat to the health and safety of LGBTQ individuals. It is imperative for all of us to recognize the gravity of this moment and commit ourselves to be on the frontlines, unwavering in our fight for freedom."