Republican state legislatures are giving us 469 reasons to focus on flipping them

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Republicans in state legislatures across the country are working hard to attack LGBTQ rights. As I write this, the ACLU is tracking a whopping 469 anti-LGBTQ bills, with its map revealing that only Delaware, Illinois, New York, Puerto Rico, and Wisconsin are not participating in this nationwide discriminatory effort.

State lawmakers have been crafting bills that would curb LGBTQ rights in several unpleasant and offensive ways. For example, some bills aim to limit access to LGBTQ-related books as well as ban drag shows and censor other performances. Other bills aim to dismantle nondiscrimination laws by letting businesses mistreat or even turn away people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

In education, rather than support every student’s full participation and inclusion, some bills aim to prevent transgender students from participating in school activities such as sports. Other bills would force teachers to publicly identify transgender students and ban all LGBTQ-related discussions in school.

Many of these bills would interfere with healthcare, including gender-affirming care, while other bills would bar transgender people from using public accommodations such as bathrooms or locker rooms. As the ACLU points out, if you’re not able to use the restroom, then how can you fully participate in work, school, and public life?

Hateful lawmakers are also pushing through even more bills that would prevent people from updating gender information on identification documents and key records such as birth certificates and driver’s licenses. Without having accurate papers, transgender people risk losing jobs, getting harassed, and more.

It takes a significant amount of time and effort to set 469 bills in motion in nearly every state legislature in the country. According to the ACLU’s analysis, these anti-LGBTQ bills primarily target the rights of transgender youth. However, a recent study from The Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law reveals that only about 1.6% (or roughly 300,000) of U.S. youth ages 13 to 17 identify as transgender.

Republican state lawmakers are not only proudly on the wrong side of LGBTQ issues, but they are spending a lot of resources going after transgender youth. Pretending that the people they hate are somehow a much larger segment of the population, Republicans hope to scare their constituents as they cry about a fake sense of urgency. When it comes to American politics, all elections matter.

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