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Civil Rights Group Human Resource Campaign Issues Guidebook for LGBTQ+ Communities in the US

    Revelers march during the NYC pride parade on Sunday, June 25, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)
    Revelers march during the NYC pride parade on Sunday, June 25, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)

    Amid the Pride Month celebrations across the United States and all over the world, the Human Resource Campaign (HRC), an organization advocating for the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex, asexual, and more (LGBTQIA+), calls the community to recognize the potential impact of the anti-LGBTQIA+ laws and to prioritize their safety by following the organization’s guidelines

    In 2023, around 560 bills that regulate the lives of sexual and gender minorities have been introduced across 49 states in the US. Out of those bills, 220 affect the lives of transgender and non-binary people. Seventy-nine out of the total bills have become laws, and four more have been passed and are pending ratification. These bills impinge on the rights of the LGBTQIA+ communities – from their identity and bodies to their access to healthcare, inclusive education, spaces, facilities, and activities. 

    As of July 1, 2023, an extremist Christian non-profit organization and the Republicans also started to gain financial and political support for their activities and programs. The Alliance Defending Freedom (a non-profit Christian organization that bans abortion and restricts LGBTQIA+ rights), for one, used the influx in funding they received in 2021 to financially support anti-abortion and anti-LGBTIA+ cases. 

    Last June 30, 2023, the Supreme Court handling the 303 Creative, Inc. v. Elenis case ruled in favor of the designer who was opposed to creating a wedding website for same-sex couples. The case exhibited the conflict between the right to free speech and rights against discrimination for the gender minority, showing the non-profit organization’s support to institutions upholding similar extremist religious beliefs. 

    In addition, Republicans in the U.S. Congress actively expressed their resistance to transgender and gender non-conforming people’s participation in sports and placed restrictions on gender-affirming materials in libraries or in performances such as drag shows. This increased support for anti-LGBTQIA+ rights can overturn the support and progress the community has experienced over the years. 

    As a consequence of these laws and support for anti-LGBTQIA+ views, the transgender and gender non-conforming community has experienced an increase in hate crimes. In 2023 alone, around 12 transgender and gender non-conforming individuals became casualties of gun and interpersonal violence. Furthermore, LGBTQIA+ community members who self-identify as Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) experience crimes against their race and identity. 

    In a 2021 study, AAPI LGBTQIA+ adults stated they are more likely to feel unsafe than AAPI non-LGBTQIA+ adults. AAPI transgender adults also experienced discrimination and victimization more than their non-transgender AAPI counterparts. These encounters included physical assault, verbal harassment, and abuse. With these new laws for the year, queer children and adults are bound to suffer difficulties in their daily lives. 

    To mitigate the potential hardships that the community might face, HRC created the LGBTQ+ AMERICANS FIGHT BACK: A GUIDEBOOK FOR ACTION. The guidebook aims to aid community members in learning about and navigating the states in the US with anti-LGBTQIA+ laws, in hopes of reclaiming their rights as queer citizens of the United States. The comprehensive guidebook details the states and the bills that can significantly impact the lives of transgender and non-conforming gender societies. 

    Some of these laws ban the LGBTQIA+ community’s access to the following:  

    Access to inclusive healthcare, where physicians that provide gender-affirming services such as gender transition procedures and medication to individuals under the age of 26 will be charged with felony and have their license revoked. 

    Access to gender-affirming facilities such as restrooms, where individuals cannot use the facilities based on the gender identity they conform with. Instead, they use the restrooms based on the assigned gender on their birth certificate. 

    Access to school sports activities, where transgender students are not allowed to play sports with peers that share their gender identity.   

    Access to materials that validate their gender identity, where books that promote gender identity are removed from school libraries. 

    Apart from learning these laws, the guidebook also equips the community with the knowledge of which U.S. states are amicable with the LGBTQIA+. It lists resources where people can get updated information on LGBTQIA-affecting laws per state. 

    The guidebook also provided actions that the community can do to counteract the anti-LGBTQIA+ laws. It included initiatives such as creating an accepting community within the community, power mapping, and filing for harassment and abuse complaints in federal civil rights offices, among others.

    As Kelley Robinson, HRC President, has mentioned in an article, “There is an imminent threat to the health and safety of millions of LGBTQ+ people and families, who are living every day in uncertainty and fear.” This threat to the health and safety of the LGBTQ+ communities looms. She also emphasized that the organization’s priority is to keep them safe and provide them with the tools to protect and defend themselves from potential threats and crimes. 

    “We’ll fight tooth and nail to ensure the safety and dignity of every LGBTQ+ person is respected and protected — without exception,” she added.

    Article by: Joane Camille L. Legaspi

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