The largest LGBTQ+ rights group in the US has, for the first time ever, officially declared a ‘State of Emergency’ for LGBTQ+ Americans.
“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,” said the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) on Tuesday.
The unprecedented announcement, issued during international Pride Month, follows a dangerous spike in anti-LGBTQ+ legislative attacks in state legislatures in 2023.
A report released by HRC details over 76 anti-LGBTQ+ bills signed into law this year alone, more than doubling last year’s number, previously the worst year on record.
According to HRC, this has resulted in a patchwork of discriminatory state laws, creating increasingly hostile and dangerous environments for LGBTQ+ individuals.
To support the LGBTQ+ community, HRC has issued a downloadable guidebook, providing a summary of state-by-state laws and information and resources for LGBTQ+ travelers and those residing in hostile states.
“LGBTQ+ Americans are living in a state of emergency. The multiplying threats facing millions in our community are not just perceived — they are real, tangible, and dangerous,” asserted HRC President Kelley Robinson.
“In many cases, they result 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,” Robinson added.
During the 2023 state legislative session, over 525 anti-LGBTQ+ bills were introduced in 41 states, with more than 220 targeting transgender individuals. As of 5 June, 2023, over 76 bills have been signed into law.
Florida, for instance, has suffered significant financial losses, with over $1 billion withdrawn by businesses and conferences in response to the state’s new anti-LGBTQ+ laws.
Last month, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed legislation enabling doctors to refuse treatment to patients based on their LGBTQ+ identity. This alarming law grants healthcare providers “the right to opt out of participation in or payment for any health care service on the basis of a conscience-based objection.”
“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,” commented Nadine Smith, CEO of Equality Florida.
“It is imperative for all of us to recognise the gravity of this moment and commit ourselves to being on the frontlines, unwavering in our fight for freedom,” Smith said.