Words by Tess Becker
States around the US are introducing anti-LGBTQ+ bills at an alarming and unprecedented rate. In response, public figures are stepping up to defend the principle of equality across all sexes, genders and sexual orientations.
According to the ACLU, there are over 480 active anti-LGBTQ+ bills in progress across the country. The new legislation is levelled at drag performances, gender-affirming care, bathroom accessibility for trans people, and more.
The onslaught came to a head in Montana, where the House of Representatives made headlines weeks ago for banning trans representative Zooey Zephyr from attending or speaking during floor sessions. The decision came after she spoke out against the anti-trans Senate Bill 99 that the House was trying to pass.
The representative has since spoken out about other laws targeting the queer community, arguing that Republicans have created an LGBTQ+ “boogeyman” to hide legislative injustices in other parts of society, including the housing crisis, the cost of living crisis other and systemic injustices.
“There is such a deep, deep housing crisis in our state that needs serious solutions across the gamut,” Zephyr told PinkNews. “What we saw throughout the session is that Republicans were not interested in the breadth of legislation necessary to address the crisis. You saw deregulation, you saw development encouragement for market rate and higher developments.
“Not a lot done for renters, not a lot done for homebuyers. I think when they bring those anti-LGBTQ+ bills, they’re doing it because when you turn to the issues impacting Montanans in their day-to-day life, you don’t have answers.”
Zooey has been actively standing up for LGBTQ+ rights in her state and others, even working out of the House’s hallway when she was no longer allowed in the chamber.
Speaking up across the States
Elsewhere, other representatives are also stepping up. They include Nebraskan Senator Machaela Cavanaugh, who for a period, before being superseded by other members, obstructed every bill that came before the legislature if they included anti-trans laws.
“If this legislature collectively decides that legislating hate against children is our priority, then I am going to make it painful — painful — for everyone,” she said.
On a wider scale, the Biden administration has pushed to make a change to Title IX which bans sex-based discrimination in education that would make broad bans against trans students partaking in sports aligning with their gender identity illegal.
“Every student should be able to have the full experience of attending school in America, including participating in athletics, free from discrimination,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “Being on a sports team is an important part of the school experience for students of all ages.”
Even though things are a little tenuous right now there are people all over the US fighting for LGBTQ+ rights.
At Smiley Movement, we like to elevate the work of charities across the world. Here are three charities whose causes align with the themes in this article.
American Civil Liberties Union. This is one of the largest civil liberty defense organizations in the US. Find out more and support them here.
Human Rights Campaign. This is one of the largest equality-focused organizations in the US. Find out more.
The Trevor Project. They focus on suicide prevention and mental health support for queer youth. Support them here.