The largest civil rights group defending the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Americans has declared a state of emergency for the LGBTQ+ community, citing a “tangled web of anti-LGBTQ+ laws” being introduced in states across the country. The sobering news highlights the precarious situation for LGBTQ+ Americans who have found themselves targets of both violence and discrimination.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) launched the first-ever national emergency declaration for the LGBTQ+ community, and with it, released a digital guide that includes resources such as health and safety information, summaries of state laws, and “know your rights” materials specifically tailored to LGBTQ+ individuals.
“We are in the middle of an all-out barrage of attacks against LGBTQ+ Americans, and now is the time for all of us who care about justice and equality to put up a massive resistance against this relentless surge of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation,” said HRC president Kelley Robinson.
The news has been met with added poignancy during the annual Pride Month, which serves to celebrate the milestones of the LGBTQ+ movement. Sadly, recent reports have indicated staggering levels of anti-LGBTQ+ legislations being passed, with the American Civil Liberties Union reporting that in just the first quarter of 2023, 417 bills were introduced, more than double the number from the prior year. Of those, a record level of anti-LGBTQ+ bills were passed and signed by governors, including Republican Ron DeSantis in Florida, a presidential candidate who has pushed for the passage of laws prohibiting the “promotion of homosexuality.”
The grim news is sadly punctuated by deadly violence against LGBTQ+ individuals. In November, Colorado’s beloved LGBTQ+ “safe space”, Club Q, witnessed a deadly shooting that came just three years after the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida, which also took the lives of 49 people.
The HRC’s declaration is a call to action for all Americans; for those who believe in equality, justice, and human rights, to make sure that these laws don’t become the norm across the country. After all, the fight for LGBTQ+ rights is far from over.