Though more than five states have posed a big threat to the LGBTQ+ community in recent years, some are more menacing than others. States like Florida and Texas are unrelenting as they pass laws targeting queer people. Conservative politicians seem to have undermining the rights of LGBTQ+ people at the top of their political agendas, ahead of any laws or programs that might actually benefit the populations of their states. Here’s why these five states are the biggest threat to the LGBTQ+ community.
A paradoxical state, Florida is likely one of the most unsafe states for LGBTQ+ in terms of legislation. New laws and bans helmed by homophobic and transphobic Governor Ron DeSantis (who now threatens the safety of the entire nation with his 2024 run for president) are attempts to restrict the freedoms of the LGBTQ+ in every facet of daily life. However, Florida is home to a large queer population with many LGBTQ+ populated communities, along with plenty of nightlife and events. Based on anti-LGBTQ+politicians and legislation, Florida continues to be a threat to our community.
One of the many states famous for its conservative population, it may not come as a surprise that Tennessee makes this list. Human Rights Campaign president, Kelley Robinson, named Tennessee one of the most hostile states toward the LGBTQ+ community along with Florida and Texas. Tennessee has passed 19 anti-LGBTQ+ bills since 2015, and signed seven into law this year alone; one of which allows the intentional misgendering and deadnaming of transgender and non-binary students by their peers and teachers. Anti-LGBTQ+ conservative politicians continue to push forward homophobic and transphobic legislation in the state.
According to The Texas Tribune, lawmakers in the state pursued dozens of anti-LGBTQ+ bills this year alone. Laws passed include bans on puberty blockers and hormone therapies for trans kids, restrictions for trans athletes on college sports teams, and the expansion of the definition of sexual conduct to target drag performances. The state has also threatened to introduce a law similar to Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which prohibits education on LGBTQ+ topics in Florida classrooms. However, a Texan version of this law hasn’t been passed yet.
Montana, with a very small population of out LGBTQ+ residents (around 2.9%), has also passed anti-trans legislation. The lack of representation in the state certainly makes it less friendly to LGBTQ+ people. In March of this year, the Human Rights Campaign condemned Montana’s State Senate over their vote to pass bill S. 458 which “would prohibit LGBTQ+ people from bringing claims of sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination in areas like employment, housing, public accommodations, health care, credit and education.”
A 2022 report from USA Today found the South Carolina is the least equitable state for LGBTQ+ residents. In the state, LGBTQ+ people still remain vulnerable to discrimination. In fact, bill H3611 “grants a broad ‘license to discriminate’ to state agencies and contractors, including child welfare agencies, who hold anti-LGBTQ+ beliefs, including those against same-sex couples and transgender people,” according to South Carolina United. Plenty of other bills in various stages of the legislative process threaten LGBTQ+ rights including marriage equality, right to legally change one’s gender on a birth certificate and more.