Monday Morning Thoughts: Conservatives Continue to Target LGBTQ Rights in 2024

Photo by Jan Budomo on Unsplash

By David M. Greenwald
Executive Editor

So far, state legislatures have introduced at least 374 bills targeting LGBTQ rights in 2024, according to the ACLU.  This follows more than 500 such bills in 2023.

This is another sign that the right considers LGBTQ rights to be a prime issue—at least in their constituencies.

“Transgender people across the country are enduring a historic and dangerous effort to control our bodies and our lives, fueled by extremist politics with the goal of erasing us from public life,” ACLU attorney Harper Seldin told the Hill recently.

“Taken together, these proposals are a blatant effort to deny transgender people the freedom to be ourselves at school, at work, and the support of the medical care many of us need to live,” he said. “We at the ACLU and our nationwide affiliate network stand ready to defend our freedoms and our families from this baseless assault.”

This follows a record more than 510 bills in 2010.

“We have seen the scope and scale of these attacks increase over the last few years, starting around 2020-2021,” said Gillian Branstetter, communications strategist for the ACLU in an April interview with CNN. “This year, it’s not just the total number that has gotten worse, but the extremity of the bills.”

CNN in December noted, “There has also been a shift toward new categories of bills. Just as states followed Florida’s bill that opponents labeled “Don’t Say Gay” —which restricts in-school discussions about sexual orientation or gender identity—several joined Tennessee in proposing bills that would ban drag performances.”

In June, the Human Rights Campaign declared a national state of emergency for LGBTQ people.

“The multiplying threats facing millions in our community are not just perceived — they are real, tangible and dangerous,” HRC President Kelley Robinson said in a statement. “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.

One bill that is gaining a lot of focus is an anti-furry bill in Oklahoma.

House Bill 3084 bans furries in Oklahoma’s public schools. Specifically, it prohibits public school students who “purport to be an imaginary animal or animal species” or engage in “anthropomorphic behavior commonly referred to as furries” from participating “in school curriculum or activities.”

The bill requires parents or guardians to pick the student up from school but if parents are unable to pick the student up, the bill says “animal control services shall be contacted to remove the student.”

Them notes that there is a link between “moral panics over trans youth and furries.”  They write, “This is a link that conservatives themselves have made.”

In 2022, NBC reported that a number of politicians had “issued warnings about children acting as cats during debates regarding school policies related to transgender and nonbinary youth.”

Additionally, Representative Humphrey, who filed the anti-furry bill, also pre-filed a bill this legislative session that bans the usage of public funds for education on “sexual choice, sexual orientation, drag queens, or similar topics in public educational institutions.”

The ACLU warns that even if some of these bills do not become law, “they all cause harm for LGBTQ people.”

A 2022 Report from HRC found, “In the wake of the passage of Florida’s discriminatory ‘Don’t Say Gay or Trans’ bill, extremist politicians and their allies engineered an unprecedented and dangerous anti-LGBTQ+ misinformation campaign that saw discriminatory and inflammatory ‘grooming’ content surge by over 400% across social media platforms.”

The average “number of tweets per day using slurs such as ‘groomer’ and ‘pedophile’ in relation to LGBTQ+ people surged by 406% in the month after the Florida bill was passed, resulting in a sharp spike in online homophobia and transphobia that social media platforms not only failed to crack down on, but also profited from.”

At the time, HRC warned, “But the rise of this online vitriol doesn’t just have political implications — there are deadly, real world consequences as violent rhetoric leads to stigma, radicalization, and ultimately violence. Nearly one-in-five of any type of hate crime is now motivated by anti-LGBTQ+ bias, and the last two years have been the deadliest for transgender people, particularly Black transgender women. HRC, along with our partners at the Center for Countering Digital Hate, urgently calls on social media companies to act swiftly and transparently to stop the spread of extremist and hateful misinformation, including the grooming narrative.”

Things have only gotten worse in the time since then.

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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4 Comments

  1. Walter Shwe

    Republicans have been caught again “with their pants down.”

    Ohio, Michigan Republicans In Released Audio: “Endgame” Is To Ban Trans Care “For Everyone”

    In audio released Friday evening, senators and representatives from Ohio and Michigan revealed the “endgame” is to ban transgender care “for everyone.”

    Audio from a small Twitter Space featuring legislators from Ohio and Michigan was automatically posted publicly, wherein Republican legislators revealed the “endgame” of anti-trans legislation was to ban trans care “for everyone.” The Space, which ejected uninvited guests, included several Michigan senators and representatives, as well as Representative Gary Click from Ohio, who sponsored the state’s recent controversial gender-affirming care ban. Throughout the Space, the legislators seem to freely discuss their plans and strategies for targeting transgender care. Towards the end of the Space, the conversation shifts to a plan for the “endgame,” where Republican legislators and anti-trans activist Prisha Mosley discuss various plans aimed at “banning this for everyone,” referring to gender-affirming care.

    Never before have elected representatives spelled out the strategy of banning care for transgender adults so clearly. Representative Gary Click has ties to the Heritage Foundation and the Center for Christian Virtue, both of which are well known for playing a role in the development and authorship of anti-trans legislation. These freshly released recordings provide an important look into the endgame of anti-trans legislation: the elimination of transgender people from public life entirely through the banning of care at any age.https://www.erininthemorning.com/p/ohio-michigan-republicans-in-released

    1. Matt Williams

      Republicans have been caught again “with their pants down.”

      .

      That is an interesting turn of phrase Walter.  How do you see “their pants down”?  What were/are you lookig for when you noticed that?

        1. Matt Williams

          Walter, you haven’t answered the question.  How does a hot Mike moment equate to being caught with their pants down?  Lots of people would equate that hot Mike moment to being “on the clock.”

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