In a new research study ranking states based on how safe they are for LGBTQ+ people, Alabama ranked as the third worst state regarding safety for LGBTQ+ people.
The study conducted by safehome.org examined all 50 states and the District of Columbia to determine how safe or unsafe their laws are toward the LGBTQ+ community. A ranking system was compiled using the opinions of over 1,000 LGBTQ+ concerning their thoughts on laws that advance equality or limit equality. The participants were asked questions pertaining to issues like non-discrimination laws, health care and parental freedoms.
The researchers then used data from the Human Rights Campaign to add up the number of laws each state has that is either pro-equality for LGBTQ+ individuals or anti-equality. Based on this data a ranking system was composed on a scale from 0 to 100 indicating how supportive a state’s laws are of LGBTQ+ equality and safety.
Alabama has a Safety Index score of 9.3 out of 100 making it the third worst state for LGBTQ+ safety. Mississippi is ranked the worst with an index score of 0 and Tennessee is ranked second worst with a score of 1.
As the research article notes, Alabama over the past few years has passed multiple laws restricting equality for LGBTQ+ individuals, including banning trans children from participating in sports and limiting discussions of gender and sexuality in school or “Don’t Say Gay” laws.
During the 2023 Legislative Session, a host of bills aimed at further targeting LGBTQ+ people were filed and debated in several committees but many failed to get passed. However, one bill, HB261, restricting transgender athletes from participating in sports in public colleges was signed into law by Gov. Kay Ivey.
The LGBTQ+ community and their allies routinely protested and spoke up for their rights throughout the session. Several protests were held and many individuals showed up to public committee hearings and demanded legislators to respect their humanity. Some of this pressure is likely the reason more anti-LGBTQ+ bills did not pass in Alabama.