The US has introduced several new anti-LGBTQ+ bills in the first few weeks 2024, and most of them specifically target the trans community.
After a year in which over 500 anti-LGBTQ+ bills were introduced across 49 states – a massive increase since 2022 – even more horrific bills have been introduced in West Virginia, Alabama, Florida and South Carolina.
While not all of these bills will become laws, it’s clear that lawmakers across the country using their power and influence to push bigoted legislation has a profoundly negative impact on the mental health and wellbeing of LGBTQ+ folks.
The legacy of discriminatory laws in 2023 only appears to be continuing into 2024, with new anti-LGBTQ+ bills being introduced already, as well as several laws being fought over in the courts.
Which new bills have been introduced in 2024?
West Virginia: On Wednesday (10 January), lawmakers introduced a bill that would mean a total ban on gender-affirming care for trans people up to the age of 21, and force therapists and social workers in West Virginia to attempt to ‘cure’ young people of being trans. If passed, this bill would extend an existing ban on gender-affirming care on under-18s in the state, passed in 2023. A separate Republican-introduced bill reportedly seeks to classify trans people as “obscene”, and ban them from being within 2,500 feet of a school.
South Carolina: The LGBTQ+ community are vehemently opposing a new bill introduced on Tuesday (9 January) that would ban gender-affirming care for trans minors in the state, as well as banning Medicaid coverage for trans healthcare up to the age of 26. The bill would also reportedly force teachers to ‘out’ trans students to their parents.
Alabama: After lengthy legal challenges, courts allowed a ban on gender-affirming care – including hormones and puberty blockers – for minors in Alabama to be passed on Thursday (11 January). The bill has been described as “devastating” to trans youth.
Florida: Following Florida’s wave of anti-LGBTQ+ bills passed in 2023, the state introduced yet more legislation in the first week of 2024, including a bill that would reportedly prohibit government employees from being required to use their colleagues’ requested pronouns.
New Hampshire: On 4 January, the New Hampshire House passed a ban on gender-affirming genital surgeries for minors, which is now expected to pass through the State Senate. Gender-affirming surgery for under-18s is already not legal in the majority of countries worldwide, including the US and UK.
Which bills from 2023 are being challenged?
Louisiana: Families and legal experts have filed a lawsuit in an attempt to block the state’s proposed ban on gender-affirming care for minors.
Ohio: Ohio Republicans voted on Wednesday (10 January) to override their Republican governor’s veto on a ban on gender-affirming care for minors. The anti-trans bill will now be advanced to the State Senate, and if passed, will make Ohio the 23rd US state to restrict gender-affirming care for young people.
Idaho: A federal judge has blocked Idaho’s proposed ban on gender-affirming care, which was set to go into effect on 1 January.
These bills are just some of the legislation still being debated across the US. For a more exhaustive rundown of bills being tracked, visit the Trans Legislation website.