Last week, Policy Watch delved into the stories of LGBTQ youth as new bills legislating their education, healthcare and identities work their way through the North Carolina General Assembly.
The bills are part of a continuing wave of hundreds of new anti-LGBTQ measures filed across the country in the new year, many targeting transgender young people.
“The damage that we’re doing by introducing these bills is that it communicates to certain young people that something is fundamentally wrong with them,” State Rep. Marcia Morey (D-Durham) told Policy Watch. “They’re watching, they’re listening. They’re paying attention as we’re trying to legislate their identities at a very tender time.”
Medical experts agree.
Dr. Sarah Wilson is an assistant professor in Duke University’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and co-lead of the Duke Sexual and Gender Minority Health Program. She points to studies establishing the measurable negative impact of such legislation on LGBTQ people — especially youth and people of color.
“There are downstream effects of that increased exposure to stigma, violence and hate crimes where North Carolinians who are LGBTQ+ reported feeling increased depression and anxiety,” Wilson said. “This is a group that already faces disproportionate rates of discrimination, harassment, stigma, and these bills serve to potentially have an amplifying effect for these inequities we already see.”
Today, a by-the-numbers look at anti-LGBTQ legislation in North Carolina and beyond – and its impacts on already-marginalized people.
(Source: American Civil Liberties Union national database tracking anti-LGBTQ bills. All numbers represent current confirmed bills in state legislatures and will change as legislative sessions continue.)
2 – Number of anti-LGBTQ bills filed in North Carolina so far this legislative session:
- Senate Bill 49 would require teachers to notify parents if a student questions their own gender — outing many young trans people before they’re ready to tell their families, who might be hostile to their identities.
- House Bill 43 would make it illegal for anyone under 18 to receive gender-affirming care endorsed by myriad mainstream medical associations, even on advice of their doctors and with parental consent.
296 – Number of anti-LGBTQ bills filed nationwide
32 – Number filed in Oklahoma, the most of any state as tracked by the ACLU
26 – Filed in Tennessee
25 – Filed in South Carolina
12 – Filed in Virginia
237 – Number of bills nationwide involving LGBTQ issues in education: banning of LGBTQ-related books in school curricula and libraries, limiting on what teachers may discuss in classrooms, restricting LGBTQ-related student groups that can be affiliated with schools
30 – Number of bills involving LGBTQ-related speech and expression, including those that seek to designate LGBTQ-friendly businesses as “adult oriented”; others would impose new restrictions on live drag shows
21 – Bills involving LGBTQ civil rights, including measures that would explicitly exclude gender identity from nondiscrimination protections or remove those protections in states where they are already established
10 – Bills that seek to restrict how transgender people can change the names and gender designations on various forms of identification, an issue on which transgender North Carolinians saw a legal victory last year after years of advocacy and litigation.
4 – Bills that would restrict public accommodations for transgender people; these include access to public restrooms and changing rooms, as well as prohibiting requirements that facilities provide gender-neutral restrooms