Human Rights Campaign For First Time Ever Declares ‘State Of Emergency’ For LGBTQ+ Americans, Issues National Warning, Guidebook For Safe Travel In United States



For the First Time Ever, Human Rights Campaign Officially Declares ‘State of Emergency’ for LGBTQ+ Americans; Issues National Warning and Guidebook to Ensure Safety for LGBTQ+ Residents and Travelers

HRC’s First-Ever Emergency Declaration Comes After More Than 75 Anti-LGBTQ+ Bills Signed Into Law This Year (More Than Double The Number From Last Year), Creating an Imminent Threat to the Health and Safety of LGBTQ+ People and Families Nationwide

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — officially declared a state of emergency for LGBTQ+ people in the United States for the first time in its more than 40-year history, following an unprecedented and dangerous spike in anti-LGBTQ+ legislative assaults sweeping state houses this year. A new report released by HRC today — LGBTQ+ Americans Under Attack — details more than 75 anti-LGBTQ+ bills that have been signed into law this year alone, more than doubling last year’s number, which was previously the worst year on record.

The sharp rise in anti-LGBTQ+ measures has spawned a dizzying patchwork of discriminatory state laws that have created increasingly hostile and dangerous environments for LGBTQ+ people, prompting HRC today to also issue a national warning and downloadable guidebook for the LGBTQ+ community — including health and safety resources, a summary of state-by-state laws, “know your rights” information, and resources designed to support LGBTQ+ travelers as well as those already living in hostile states. This guidebook will arm LGBTQ+ people with resources and information to help ensure safety in all 50 states.

LGBTQ+ Americans are living in a state of emergency. The multiplying threats facing millions in our community are not just perceived — they are real, tangible and dangerous. In many cases they are resulting in violence against LGBTQ+ people, forcing families to uproot their lives and flee their homes in search of safer states, and triggering a tidal wave of increased homophobia and transphobia that puts the safety of each and every one of us at risk. As we kick off LGBTQ+ Pride Month, HRC will be working tirelessly to educate and arm the LGBTQ+ community with information and resources to ensure their safety — whether they’re planning summer travel through regions that are becoming increasingly hostile to LGBTQ+ people, or whether they already live in a state where legislative assaults and political extremism are continuing to put a target on our backs.

“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. Our number one priority will always be ensuring that LGBTQ+ people are safe and have the tools they need to defend and protect themselves against acts of hostility, discrimination and — in the most extreme cases — violence. It’s also incumbent on our allies across the country to stand with us and make it clear that they won’t sit idly by while extremists attack and malign LGBTQ+ people and our families. We’ll fight tooth and nail to ensure the safety and dignity of every LGBTQ+ person is respected and protected — without exception.”

-Kelley Robinson, HRC President

Florida stands at the forefront of the fight against these oppressive laws now proliferating throughout the nation. It is heartbreaking to witness families uproot themselves in search of access to healthcare and inclusive classrooms, free from book bans and censorship. Our universities, once renowned for their talent and innovation, are witnessing a drain of exceptional educators and students who now seek refuge in places where academic freedom and excellence prevail over political indoctrination. Our state’s economy has lost over $1 billion as businesses and conferences withdraw their investment in our state. The assault on freedom is not limited to one state but permeates across America. The erosion of civil liberties by extremists to further their own political ambitions poses a direct threat to the health and safety of LGBTQ individuals. It is imperative for all of us to recognize the gravity of this moment and commit ourselves to being on the frontlines, unwavering in our fight for freedom.”

-Nadine Smith, CEO of Equality Florida

An Escalating Crisis for LGBTQ+ People Across the Country

Extremist politicians and their allies have ushered in an unprecedented climate of fear, hostility, and discrimination that’s already rippling consequences across the LGBTQ+ community. As detailed in HRC’s legislative impact report, there has been a steady increase in anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced in state legislatures over the last several years — from 115 bills introduced in 2015 to more than 500 in 2023. This year, more than 75 bills have been signed into law — more than doubling last year’s number.

The 2023 state legislative session was the worst year on record for anti-LGBTQ+ legislation:

  • More than 525 bills were introduced in 41 states.
  • Over 220 of these bills explicitly targeted transgender people.
  • Over 76 bills have been signed into law as of June 5, 2023 — more than any year on record, and more than double over last year.

Transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming youth in particular have been directly impacted by anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, losing access to life saving medical care, comprehensive and inclusive education, and activities, spaces, and facilities.

    • Transgender sports bans (21 states) — 30% of high school aged transgender youth — approximately 90,100 of the estimated 300,100 transgender youth aged 13-17 in the U.S. — are living in states where they are unable to simply play alongside their friends. As these bills extend all the way down into Kindergarten and, in some states, through college, many more transgender youth and young adults are impacted as well.
    • Gender-affirming care bans (20 states) — 30.9% of all transgender youth age 13-17 are living in states where they can no longer access life-saving, best practices medical care. In some states, care has been banned not only for youth, but adults as well, especially through bans on public funds going to provide this best practice healthcare. More than 30 states introduced gender affirming care bans during the 2023 legislative session, meaning that at its height, half of all transgender youth in the U.S. were at risk of losing access to gender-affirming care.
    • Bathroom bans (9 states) — 14.8% of transgender people (age 13+) — over 243,000 of the 1.6 million transgender people in the U.S. — live in states where they are unable to use bathrooms, locker rooms, and/or other facilities in accordance with their gender identity while in K-12 (public) school buildings, if not elsewhere. This includes 32,700 transgender youth nationwide, or 10.9% of all transgender youth age 13-17. Over 110,000 transgender people (age 13+) live in states where they are also banned from using bathrooms and facilities in some public settings and buildings outside of K-12 schools.

Families in the States Speak Out

The targeting of transgender and non-binary youth by extremist politicians is creating a crisis for families — millions of whom live in regions that present threats of danger to them and their children. Families from some of the most hostile states across the country stood alongside HRC today to give platform to the voices of millions being shamelessly attacked and targeted by their governing leaders.

Texas Parent Wendy: “Being forced to leave our family and friends, with Texas roots over a hundred years, is going to be the hardest thing we’ll ever do,” said Wendy, a mother of four in Texas who is relocating to Minnesota this summer. “Our close knit family, especially my mom, is devastated. Going from seeing each other every week to every other month is going to be emotionally challenging.”

Montana Parent Megan: “It’s difficult to articulate what it’s like to be forced out like this,” said Megan, a parent of a transgender child living in Montana who is looking for jobs in other states. “It sort of makes you feel like a refugee, as we’ll obviously do whatever we need to do to keep our child safe. But we have great jobs in Montana, a tight friend circle that includes people who really care for and love us, and so leaving all of that behind for our whole family and starting new is difficult for us, as well as our children, who will also be fully uprooted, obviously.”

Texas Parent Rachel: “My family has been fighting for many years to be able to safely stay in our home state of Texas while supporting our transgender daughter,” said Rachel Gonzales in Texas, a member of HRC’s Parents for Transgender Equality Council. “Despite the exponentially heightened threats we face today from hate-filled legislators, we are still surrounded by Texans who know, love and support us. It is horrifying that so many families are being used as pawns in this manufactured debate from political extremists. We want every trans kid and adult here to know that they are not alone, we are staying put and we’ll be fighting right here alongside you.”

Florida Parent Daniel: “When a child’s basic needs are not being met, or when a child is neglected or endangered in the home, Child Protective Services is called. But what happens when it’s the State that’s endangering a child? When the State is not allowing basic needs to be met?,” said Daniel, the dad of a transgender young person in Florida who recently moved to Minnesota. “We have become our own version of Child Protective Service and removed our child from the danger and neglect from the State.”

Empowering LGBTQ+ People to Protect Themselves, Fight Back

To ensure that LGBTQ+ people have the information and resources they need to not only ensure their safety while residing in or traveling through some of the most hostile regions of the country, HRC today released an LGBTQ+ guidebook for action, for navigating the current climate. The guidebook is part of a larger effort by which HRC will spend the coming months working to furnish the LGBTQ+ community with information and resources it needs to navigate the increasingly hostile climate, and it includes:

      • State-by-state run down of anti-LGBTQ+ policies as well as LGBTQ+ protections
      • How to determine access to LGBTQ+ healthcare
      • Resources for financing a move to safer states and finding employment
      • Navigating school boards
      • Information for filing complaints for violation of civil rights laws
      • Identifying the source of harmful rhetoric and legislative attacks
      • How to engage in local advocacy opposing anti-LGBTQ+ efforts
      • How to navigate tough conversations about anti-LGBTQ+ hate with friends and family

More information on today’s announcement can be found on HRC’s website:

New Report: LGBTQ+ Americans Under Attack

LGBTQ+ Guidebook for Action

HRC National Warning: Resources Page

Banner Image: Human Rights Campaign Guidebook. Image Credit – HRC


Human Rights Campaign

Leading the fight for LGBTQ+ rights. We’ve spent 40 years creating the most powerful movement for equality our country has ever seen. But despite this progress, our most marginalized are still suffering from violence, discrimination and fear. Our goal is to ensure that all LGBTQ+ people, and particularly those of us who are trans, people of color and HIV+, are treated as full and equal citizens within our movement, across our country and around the world.


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