Several anti-LGBTQ+ laws are being passed or proposed across the US as political attacks against the communities continue.
In North Dakota, conservative lawmakers have introduced at least eight laws targeting LGBTQ+ communities, many of which target transgender people.
One bill, rejected on Friday, mandated people affiliated with schools or institutions receiving public funding having to pay a $1,500 fine for using gender pronouns other than those assigned at birth for themselves or others, the Grand Forks Herald reported.
Many in the state’s senate judiciary committee that voted down the bill noted that they agreed with the bill’s intention to limit transgender rights, but they felt that the bill was poorly written and difficult to enforce, according to ABC News.
Christina Sambor of the North Dakota Human Rights Coalition testified against the bill on Wednesday, noting that “its very purpose is gender-based discrimination”, ABC reported.
In a separate proposal, Republicans lawmakers introduced a bill to ban “sexually explicit” materials from libraries, with possible jail time for librarians that do not comply.
Under house bill 1205, public libraries could no longer provide books on a range of topics, including any on “sexual identity”, and/or “gender identity”, the LGBTQ+ magazine Them reported.
North Dakota has long been problematic to LGBTQ+ communities. The state was among the last to recognize same-sex marriage.
In the US, several states have filed over 100 laws targeting LGBTQ+ rights, NBC News reported. Such bills have targeted almost all aspects of life, ranging from sports to healthcare to education.
Texas has filed the most anti-LGBTQ+ laws, a total of 36. Missouri has introduced or passed 26 bills, followed by North Dakota, and Oklahoma with six.
Several states have attempted to limit gender-affirmative healthcare options for transgender people.
West Virginia lawmakers advanced a bill last Thursday that would ban doctors from performing gender-affirmative surgery on transgender youth, a proposal that many in the medical community and advocates have decried as transphobic and unnecessary.
“This doesn’t help anybody,” the Democratic representative Mike Pushkin said to West Virginia’s state house health and human resources committee. “This is just an insult to people who are already marginalized.”
In Mississippi, state house legislators passed a bill that bans physicians from administering gender-affirmative care to people under 18, the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reported.
Last year, Texas’s governor, Greg Abbott, faced nationwide outrage after instructing the state’s child protection services to investigate any parents providing their children with gender-affirming care, accusing them of “abuse”.
Florida has initiated a number of anti-LGBTQ+ laws since the passage of what has been coined as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which bans instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade.
That state’s Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, has targeted gender-affirmative healthcare at Florida universities. The DeSantis administration issued a blanket request to 12 Florida universities, asking for information on the number of students diagnosed with gender dysphoria or receiving on-campus treatments, Politico reported.
His office has not elaborated on what will be done with the collected data but noted that it was for “governing institutional resources and protecting the public interest”.
Republican lawmakers have also taken actions to crack down on drag shows.
Lawmakers in at least eight states have taken steps to either restrict or ban drag shows, with at least 14 states introducing such bills.
Drag show performances across the country have faced increasing violence from anti-drag protests. In December, an anti-drag protest with 500 participants targeted a public library in the Queens borough where drag queens were reading books to children, NBC News reported.
Cities in Illinois and California reported protests, with participants shouting homophobic and transphobic slurs at drag queens participating in similar story times, according to the Associated Press.
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