LGBTQ+ rights

Democratic Texas state Rep. Jolanda Jones speaks during the All In For Equality Advocacy Day demonstration in front of the Texas State Capitol in Austin on March 20, 2023.

(Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

In Historic Move, Leading Rights Group Declares 'State of Emergency' for LGBTQ+ People in US

"The multiplying threats facing millions in our community are not just perceived—they are real, tangible, and dangerous," said Human Rights Campaign president Kelley Robinson.

For the first time ever, the Human Rights Campaign—the largest LGBTQ+ political advocacy group in the United States—has declared a national state of emergency for LGBTQ+ people, citing the torrent of discriminatory and dangerous legislation emerging from Republican-controlled legislatures across the country.

"I'm not going to sugarcoat this," Human Rights Campaign (HRC) president Kelley Robinson said Tuesday in a report—LGBTQ+ Americans Under Attack—accompanying the group's declaration. "During this legislative session, there have been over 525 state bills introduced that attack the LGBTQ+ community, and over 220 of those target the transgender community. As of press time, more than 70 of those have become law."

"These laws are fueled by an anti-LGBTQ+ Republican establishment—and coordinated, well-funded extremist groups like the Alliance Defending Freedom, Heritage Foundation, and the Family Policy Alliance—insistent on trying to control our families and lives," she added.

As the report details:

Just look at what's playing out in Texas and Tennessee and Florida. These states are banning educators from talking about LGBTQ+ issues and teaching Black history, and are banning gender-affirming care and abortion care. These same states do nothing to ensure the freedom of children to be safe from gun violence and do nothing to protect the freedom of democracy when Black and trans voices are silenced in state legislatures.

Or look at Governor Ron DeSantis, who has weaponized his position as a lawmaker to target LGBTQ+ families, Black and Brown Floridians, immigrants, and private businesses. Even with the majority of Floridians forcefully opposing his anti-LGBTQ laws and despite surging support for LGBTQ+ families nationally, DeSantis has been crisscrossing the country to attack our community.

HRC notes some bright spots, like Michigan, which recently became the 22nd state to codify LGBTQ+ protection and Minnesota, which this year banned so-called "conversion therapy."

(Graphic: Human Rights Campaign)(Graphic: Human Rights Campaign)

The report also hails Democratic state lawmakers including Machaela Cavanaugh—who unsuccessfully filibustered Nebraska's ban on gender-affirming healthcare for trans youth—and Zooey Zephyr, whose vocal opposition to Montana's gender-affirming care ban got her kicked out of the Legislature by her Republican colleagues.

In addition to the emergency declaration, HRC published a downloadable guidebook for the LGBTQ+ community that includes information on health and safety resources for travelers, a summary of state laws, and a "know your rights" section.

"LGBTQ+ Americans are living in a state of emergency," Robinson said in a statement. "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."

"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," said Robinson, "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."

"There is an imminent threat to the health and safety of millions of LGBTQ+ people and families, who are living every day in uncertainty and fear."

HRC's emergency declaration follows an April travel advisory for Florida issued by LGBTQ+, racial justice, and immigrant rights groups.

"There is an imminent threat to the health and safety of millions of LGBTQ+ people and families, who are living every day in uncertainty and fear," Robinson asserted. "Our number one priority will always be ensuring that LGBTQ+ people are safe and have the tools they need to defend and protect themselves against acts of hostility, discrimination, and—in the most extreme cases—violence."

"It's also incumbent on our allies across the country to stand with us and make it clear that they won't sit idly by while extremists attack and malign LGBTQ+ people and our families," Robinson added. "We'll fight tooth and nail to ensure the safety and dignity of every LGBTQ+ person is respected and protected—without exception."

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