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How Good/Bad Was 2023 for LGBTQ People in the United States?

First, let's look at how our community did this year in the United States, then we'll look at how we did internationally.

In 2023, a record number of 540 anti-LGBTQ bills have been introduced in the United States alone. This is nothing new though. Each year since 2018, lawmakers have time and again set the record on how many discriminatory bills they can propose and sadly, they also set the record for how many they can pass.

In 2018, lawmakers introduced 38 anti-LGBTQ bills to state legislators across the country. 19 of them were targeting the Transgender community specifically. But only 2 anti-LGBTQ laws passed out of these 38 bills proposed. That means only 5.26% of all the bills proposed, actually made it to become law.

In 2019, records were set again. 49 anti-LGBTQ bills were proposed, 25 of them targeted the Trans community, and only 4 of them passed. So, in 2019 just 8.16% made it to become law. The following year, in 2020, 87 anti-LGBTQ bills were proposed, 60 of them were anti-transgender, but just 3 of them passed. Luckily, the percentage fell that year to just 3.45%.

But in 2021, things got out of hand. 250 anti-LGBTQ bills were introduced, 131 of them targeting transgender people, and 17 of them passed (6.80%). This upward trend of hatred continued in 2022 when 315 anti-LGBTQ bills were introduced, 155 of them being anti-Trans, and 29 of them passed (9.21%).

This year, out of the 540 anti-LGBTQ bills that were proposed by state legislators, 220 of those bills have specifically targeted the transgender and non-binary communities while the remaining 320 of them targeted the overall LGBTQ community.

While the gay community sometimes gets a bill specifically targeting us, this is rare and it's sometimes seen as an outlier. While 42.3% of all the bills proposed this year targeted and called out the transgender community specifically, the other 57.7% of the bills went after the overall LGBTQ community including trans people.

If a bill targeted transgender people, most times it meant that gay, bisexual people, or sexual orientations in general were not the target. If those bills passed, sexual orientations would not have been affected at all - only trans people would have felt the effects of those. But if a bill this year targeted sexual orientations (gay, bisexual, etc.), more than likely transgender people were also targeted in that same bill. So, if those bills passed gay, bisexual, and transgender people would all feel the effects.

Even more alarming was the bills trying to silence drag performers. In January 2023, reports started to be published that 19 bills were introduced that would ban drag performances in public settings, including in bars, pride events, etc. By June, just six months later, that number rose to nearly 500 bills. Aside from the 540 anti-LGBTQ bills that were introduced, there were nearly 500 bills introduced to specifically stop drag performers from ever taking the stage.

Getting back to the bulk of these bills though, out of these 540 proposed anti-LGBTQ bills across the country, 45 have passed this year. This means just 8.33% of all the bills proposed, have made it through and passed. But this is still alarming, to say the least. It means that homophobic and transphobic groups just have to bring as many bills forward as they can because a small percentage will undeniably pass.

If you wanted to live in a state that affirms your sexual orientation or gender identity, there were no better places this year than in New York, Illinois, Delaware, the District of Columbia, or Puerto Rico. All of these states or territories proposed zero anti-LGBTQ legislation this year.

As for the worst states this year, that list is much longer. The states which proposed the most anti-LGBTQ bills were Texas (55 anti-LGBTQ bills), Missouri (48), Oklahoma (35), Iowa (29), Tennessee (26), Mississippi (25), and South Carolina (20).

Who passed the most anti-LGBTQ laws? North Dakota and Tennessee tied, passing 10 anti-LGBTQ laws this year. They are followed close behind by Arkansas (passing 8), Texas and Utah (each passing 6), Montana and North Carolina (each passing 5), and Florida (passing 4).

Which states defeated the most amount of anti-LGBTQ bills this year? Texas legislators defeated 48 anti-LGBTQ bills, Missouri defeated 42, Mississippi (23), Iowa (17), Indiana (15), Virginia (12), and Arizona (11).

Here's the full list to see where your state ranks:


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