The annual number of anti-LGTBQ bills has grown alarmingly in the past few years, going from 41 in 2018 to 238 in the first three months of 2022. This includes restricting the discussion of LGBTQ issues in school curriculums, permitting religious exemptions to discriminate against LGBTQ people and limiting trans people’s ability to play sports or receive gender-affirming health care.
Political experts say the increase in state bills is more about lobbying on behalf of conservative groups and politicians looking to score support with their base than it is about public sentiment. The reality is, according to a Public Religion Research Institute survey, nearly 8 in 10 Americans support laws that protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in jobs, housing and public accommodations. Additionally, nearly 70 percent of Americans support same-sex marriage.
But despite the public support, these bills serve to make those in the LGTBQ+ community feel unsafe in their communities and feel like their own states and communities do not want them or accept them. These feelings of alienation result in an increased incidence of suicidal ideation. According to The Trevor Project, their “ 2021 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health found that 42% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, including more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth. “
On May 17th we observe the International Day Against Homophobia, which is a time to recognize the violence and discrimination experienced by the LGBTQ+ community.
This date was chosen to commemorate the World Health Organization’s decision in 1990 to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder.
A positive way to recognize this day is to learn about being an ally to LGTBQ+ friends and community members. A very helpful resource for information and ideas is The Trevor Project. They provide guides for being an ally to transgender and non binary youth and bisexual youth, how to have conversations about intersectional issues for those with multiple marginalized identities, and many more resources. You can also volunteer your time or make a donation.
For more resources, you can check out the links below: