Is 2022 Anti-LGBTQ?

Illustration by Drew Arnett

According to data compiled by the Human Rights Campaign, over 650 pieces of “potentially LGBTQ-related legislation” have been introduced or are pending in 2022 with nearly 340 “anti-LGBTQ” pieces of legislation introduced this year, with more thought to come.

2022 has been in a constant state of panic. The ever-changing status on government decisions and consistent questioning of morals and ethics have not treated us kindly, especially women’s rights and LGBTQ rights. Florida, unfortunately for the large LGBTQ community here, has made some things difficult when navigating a life that our government is biased against.

Of all 50 states in the United Sates, Florida is one of only eight that have taken to sign “anti-LGBTQ bills” into law. Some of the bills include the “Don’t Say Gay” bill and FL H0007, which discourages teachers and businesses from discussing “hard topics” such as race, gender identity and privilege. Essentially, this bill allows consequence on “uncomfortable topics.”

Florida is not the only state to enact such threatening legislature. Nationwide, of the 337 opposing pieces of legislature, over 143 are deemed “anti-trans.” Over 75 bills are discriminatory education bills and another 34 are discrimination in the form of religious refusal bills.

In Ohio, HB454 was introduced to combat “child experimentation,” or as we call it, gender reassignment surgery on minors. Multiple states have enacted sports acts, requiring team players to participate on the teams of their biological gender, no matter their gender identification. Others have enacted bills allowing doctors to deny medical practices that disregard their own beliefs.

However, many allies around the country are taking their efforts to courts as a way to express their dissatisfaction with the government’s handling of such social issues. The Human Rights Campaign is suing multiple states, including Florida, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee. In 2020 the HRC decided to collaborate on a pro bono program with the goal to switch courts’ perspectives on LGBTQ experiences across the country. They began their move against Florida in 2021, following the passing of Florida’s law restricting transgender women and girls from participating in women’s sports. The challenge represented a 13-year-old transgender girl who would have to either play on a boys’ team, despite her identity, or quit sports completely. According to the HRC, this “would be detrimental to her academic and social development, while also potentially risking her personal privacy and safety.”

Now that the line between church and state has been challenged, many worry gay rights and free speech will be targeted next term following a Colorado woman’s challenge of the state law prohibiting businesses from discrimination based on multiple factors, including sexual orientation. In total, these 337 pieces of legislation considered to be anti-LGBTQ, are a direct target against those who simply feel the need to express themselves in a country intent on controlling such things.

About Molly Britt

Molly Britt is a multimedia journalist with Folio Weekly, as well as an account executive. As a Jax Beach local and University of North Florida graduate, she is familiar with all things Duval and Northeast Florida. She enjoys investigative journalism and interviews, using her platform to educate and inform the local community with her words. While at Folio, Britt has enjoyed interviews with the likes of Robby Takac of the Goo Goo Dolls and local small businesses such as Femme Fire Books.