Dissecting & Understanding the 2023 Anti-LGBTQ+ Laws

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We’re almost halfway through Pride month. Today marks the seventh anniversary of the Pulse massacre. Instead of enjoying the celebration of life’s diversity, I’ve been discouraged. Last night, I posted on Facebook about being in a black mood. The post was a reflection of my great disappointment in my country and in those who claim to be Christians but don’t reflect God’s character of love.

According to the Human Rights Campaign, a record 70 anti-LGBTQ laws have been enacted so far this year, including:

  • Laws banning gender affirming care for transgender youth: 15
  • Laws requiring or allowing misgendering of transgender students: 7
  • Laws targeting drag performances: 2
  • Laws creating a license to discriminate: 3
  • Laws censoring school curriculum, including books: 4

I long for a world that is progressing towards inclusivity and acceptance. Instead, I’m disheartened as I witness the surge of anti-LGBTQ legislation sweeping across the United States this year. Such actions not only undermine the hard-fought battles for equality but also perpetuate discrimination and marginalization. As I reflect on the recent spate of discriminatory laws outlined above, it’s abundantly clear to me that we must address this regressive trend and strive for a more compassionate society.

The Legislative Assault:
The HRC’s comprehensive report provides a distressing snapshot of the widespread anti-LGBTQ legislation that has emerged in various states across the country. These measures aim to chip away at the rights and protections that the LGBTQ community has rightfully gained over the years. From restrictions on healthcare access to limitations on transgender rights, this legislative onslaught is an affront to the principles of equality and human rights.

Healthcare Restrictions:
As a parent of a transgender daughter, one of the most concerning aspects of the anti-LGBTQ legislation is its assault on healthcare access. By targeting transgender individuals, these laws not only obstruct gender-affirming care but also perpetuate harmful stereotypes and stigmatization. Denying necessary medical treatment to a marginalized community is not only discriminatory but also risks endangering lives and perpetuating systemic injustices.

Bathroom Bills and Transgender Discrimination:
The introduction of discriminatory “bathroom bills” is yet another deeply troubling aspect of the current wave of anti-LGBTQ legislation. Such measures unjustly target transgender individuals, effectively denying them the right to use restrooms that align with their gender identity. This type of legislation only serves to isolate and marginalize an already vulnerable community, fueling transphobia and contributing to a hostile environment.

Religious Exemptions and Freedom of Discrimination:
I’m alarmed by the expansion of so-called “religious exemptions” that allow individuals and businesses to discriminate against LGBTQ individuals based on religious beliefs. While freedom of religion is a cherished value, it should never be used as a license to harm or exclude others. 

I have been personally affected by this growing trend. Just over one year ago, I was forced to leave a highly successful career with the Seventh-Day Adventist Church because I am gay. These exemptions perpetuate discrimination and undermine the principle that no one should face discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

A Call for Change:
In the face of this disheartening assault on LGBTQ rights, it is crucial for advocates of equality and justice to rise up and make our voices heard. We must call upon lawmakers to reject these regressive and discriminatory laws and instead work towards creating an inclusive society that respects and upholds the rights of all individuals.

It is also vital for allies to stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ community and actively support organizations fighting against these discriminatory measures. By educating ourselves and others, raising awareness, and engaging in peaceful activism, we can collectively work towards reversing the damaging impact of these laws and creating a society that embraces diversity and equality.

Yes, the recent surge of anti-LGBTQ legislation and rhetoric in the Christian community had me in a funk last night. It is deeply disappointing. Rather than remain frozen by anger and sadness, we must stand together against discrimination and work towards a society that celebrates the rights and dignity of all individuals. By advocating for change, supporting LGBTQ organizations, and promoting awareness, we can push back against these discriminatory laws and ensure a brighter, more inclusive future for all. 

I invite you to join me in the ongoing fight for LGBTQ rights to create a world where equality truly becomes a reality.