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Human Rights Campaign reviews “record-breaking” year of anti-LGBTQ laws

Alabama passed two laws this year that affect the LGBTQ community, including the criminalization of gender-affirming medical treatment.

At least 13 states passed an anti-LGBTQ bill so far in 2022, in what the Human Rights Campaign called a “record-breaking spate” of legislation.

“Our community has absolutely been under attack and we’ve been under attack from the same forces who have been attacking LGBTQ equality for decades and decades,” said Cathryn Oakley, HRC state legislative director. “The opponent’s names are the same. Their tactics are are actually sort of reverting back to some of the vintage tactics that they used back in the day. And these radical political forces, who are overall losing the battle for equality, are using the power that they are clinging on to to take decisions away from parents who want what’s best for their families and to target transgender youth in a way that is truly cowardly and unconscionable.”

In Alabama, two laws were passed during the legislative session, as a provision similar to Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill was tacked on to a gender bathroom bill that had already worked its way through the House.

“Alabama passed the most anti transgender legislative package we have ever seen from a state in history,” Oakley said. “Alabama passed two laws that did four things: There was a ban on transgender students being able to use the restroom consistent with their gender identity at school; there was a provision that forced school administrators to out transgender LGBTQ students to their parents before they are ready; there is a provision that makes it a felony punishable by 1 to 10 years in prison to provide or help someone provide age-appropriate, medically necessary gender-affirming care to transgender youth; and there was also a ‘don’t say gay or trans’ provision that was attached to that bill as well.

“So all together, it was four provisions packaged into two bills.”

The ban on medical treatment for gender dysphoria briefly went into effect in May before U.S. District Judge Liles Burke issued an injunction allowing the continuation of treatment while the case makes its way through the court system.

“Opponents of LGBTQ equality have stopped pretending that they’re trying to do anything other than target transgender kids and I think the the signing statement in Alabama is a great example,” Oakley said. “The governor said that she believes that the children are as God intends them to be and that helping them transition is an affront to God.”

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The only other state to pass a medical ban was Arizona. The only other state to pass a gender bathroom bill was Oklahoma. And Alabama joined seven other states in implementing some kind of curriculum censorship of LGBTQ topics.

The only set of bills that Alabama didn’t get involved with were bills banning transgender athletes from competing in sports that match their gender identity.

Oakley said the rash of bills stems from a perspective that “inherently sexualizes” LGBTQ people and makes them out to be “inherently inappropriate.”

“I don’t think it counts as a culture war, when some people are just trying to live their lives on one side and other people are trying to prevent them from doing that,” Oakley said.

Jacob Holmes is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected]

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