These 6 LGBTQ+ rights are already under fire in state legislatures

At least 19 states have bills aimed at restricting gender-affirming care, with over 100 (and counting) bills that, if made law, would limit the rights of LGBTQ+ people in state legislatures across the country.

A slew of additional bills seeks to criminalize comprehensive sex education curriculum and drag shows, and to prevent transgender people from changing their gender or name on their identifying documents, just to name a few.

Equality Federation, an organization that works to promote bills protecting LGBTQ+ rights and challenging bills limiting those rights, has been tracking LGBTQ+-related bills. According to the data available on its state legislation tracker on Thursday, at least 30 state legislatures had filed such bills.

Alejandra Caraballo, a Massachusetts-based attorney who handles cases involving LGBTQ+ rights, has been working with other LGBTQ+ advocates updating a public spreadsheet of harmful bills filed by state legislatures. According to the database she manages with other LGBTQ+ advocates on Thursday, over 100 anti-LGBTQ+ bills filed in state legislatures across the country.

As of Thursday, Equality Federation’s map did not clearly list the pro- and anti-LGBTQ+ bills, but did specifically list bills related to gender-affirming care bans, transgender athletes.

There were 240 anti-LGBTQ bills filed during the 2022 legislative session. Most of the bills failed, but 21 were passed and became law, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

A majority of the LGBTQ+-related bills filed for the 2023 session specifically target transgender people, especially bills placing restrictions on or criminalizing gender-affirming care for young transgender people.

Many of the bills included higher age restrictions on gender-affirming care with some bills restricting care for people up to 26 years old. Some of the bills included additional requirements for people seeking gender-affirming care including requiring anyone over 21 to get a recommendation from both a physician and a licensed psychiatrist before they can seek gender-affirming care.

Other bills are related to accessing bathrooms or locker rooms, discussions of gender identity and sexuality in state-funded schools, criminal charges for parents who help their child access gender-affirming care, and the criminalization and stricter regulation of businesses that host drag shows.

Texas has filed more anti-LGBTQ bills than any other state with 47 bills that could affect the everyday lives of LGBTQ people, said Texas Equality, a nonprofit organization focused on educating lawmakers and Texans about LGBTQ rights.

“In our last legislative session, Texans found their private lives at center of a public debate. Our message is simple: The dignity of LGBTQ+ people is not up for debate,” said Jonathan Gooch, director of communications for Texas Equality.

Gooch referenced data from the Trevor Project that shows 47% of LGBTQ+ youth and 56% of trans and nonbinary youth in Texas have considered suicide. The data also shows 16% of LGBTQ+ youth and 20% of trans and nonbinary youth attempted suicide.

“Those are alarming numbers,” Good said. “We are concerned about health and wellbeing of young people in our community. “No matter their views, would hope all lawmakers would want to protect kids from suicide.”

The organization is tracking these bills on their website.

While the legislative season often stretches into summer, 45 state legislatures will begin their session in January. Oklahoma and Nevada go into session Feb. 6. Alabama and Florida go into session March 7, and Louisiana’s session starts April 10.

We’re breaking down the bills by topic:

Transgender youth

These are bills related to transgender youth, including bans on trans student athletes. Many of the bills have been dubbed “Save Women’s Sports” or similar titles implying restricting trans girls from participating in sports.

Some standout bills:

  • North Dakota’s House Bill 1249 would require schools to designate sports teams as for exclusively male, exclusively female or co-ed. The bill would also remove state funding for any event where a trans student athlete is participating.
  • Kentucky House Bill 30 requires students to use the bathroom that matches their gender at birth.

There are at least 29 bills restricting trans athletes from participating in both K-12 and college sports, according to the Equality Federation.

Gender-affirming care bans

At least 15 states have filed bills placing restrictions on or criminalizing gender-affirming care, according to Equality Federation. Some of the restrictions are related to age and additional requirements for adults seeking gender-affirming care.

Some standout bills:

  • Oklahoma’s Senate Bill 129 would criminalize providing gender-affirming care to people under age 26.
  • In South Carolina, Senate Bill 274 would require adults over 21 to get a recommendation from both a physician and a licensed psychiatrist before they can seek gender-affirming care, including hormone replacement therapy.

There are at least 47 bills relating to gender-affirming care, according to the Equality Federation.

Official identification

In addition to bills that make it more difficult to get gender-affirming care, states have also filed bills that would prevent trans people (or anyone) from changing the information on their identifying documents.

Some standout bills:

  • South Carolina is considering a constitutional amendment that would add this line to the state constitution “a person’s biological sex at birth constitutes that person’s gender for the purposes of the state constitution and laws.” The state is also considering S0364, a bill that would require trans people to get documentation from a physician proving they’ve had and “completed” a gender transition procedure.
  • Texas Senate Bill 162 also prevents amending the gender listed on a minor’s birth certificate (with a few exceptions—none of which recognize transgender minors).

Sex education and parental rights

Several states have filed bills that would require schools to get parental consent before teaching material about sexuality or would require inaccurate information about gender identity be taught in sex education materials. Other bills criminalize parents who help their kids get gender-affirming care.

Some standout bills:

  • New Hampshire’s House Bill 10, also called the “Parent’s Bill of Rights” would establish a list of “rights” parents have related to opting their children out of vaccine requirements and the right to “object” to curriculum based on “beliefs regarding morality, sex, and religion or the belief that such materials are harmful.”
  • South Carolina’s Senate Bill 274 (mentioned above) would also require state sex education materials on gender dysphoria to instruct students experiencing gender dysphoria to “seek assistance from a mental health professional” and to discourage students from pursing any gender-affirming care, a stance that is contrary to statements from the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics criticizing legislation that would ban gender-affirming care for minors.

Drag Shows

Seven states have filed bills that criminalize or further regulate businesses that host drag shows and drag performers. Theoretically, this would include a wide range of businesses. Some of the bills specify criminal punishments for businesses that host drag shows where children are present.

Some standout bills:

  • Tennessee’s Senate Bill 3 would make it a crime to perform drag in any “location where the adult cabaret performance could be viewed by a person who is not an adult.” Tennessee has filed four bills related to restrictions on drag performances.
  • Arizona’s SB 1030 would require businesses to obtain a “drag show permit” and performers obtain a “drag performer permit” as part of the state zoning ordinance.

There are 14 bills restricting drag performances, according to the Equality Federation.

How to get involved

People who are concerned about the bills and their impact should contact their legislator and tell them about their concerns, Gooch said.

“It’s so important to show up for LGBTQ people. Call your representative. Do whatever you can to make your voice heard. Anything that someone can do to support our community is helpful right now because it shows our representatives how involved the community is,” Gooch said.

You can find your state and federal representatives’ contact information at

Anna Beahm

Anna Beahm |

I report on the intersection of religion and sexuality in America. Follow me on Twitter @_AnnaBeahm

The Reckon Report.
Sign up to receive the Reckon Report newsletter in your inbox every Tuesday.