July 14, 2023
Point Foundation - The National LGBTQ Scholarship Fund
2023 Anti-LGBTQ Laws in the Classroom
So far this year, 20 states passed anti-LGBTQ legislation according to the American Civil Liberties Union. Some state legislatures are still in session meaning that the tally of hateful laws could rise even further. Of all the homophobic and transphobic legislation passed, 16 states’ anti-LGBTQ laws include restrictions on LGBTQ students’ rights in schools, colleges, and universities. As of this posting, two-thirds of the nation’s states have adjourned their legislative sessions after passing 29 anti-LGBTQ bills that affect students. These bills constitute almost 14% of the 228 bills proposed across all states specifically targeting LGBTQ students.
This distressing reversal of equality and inclusion in education serves as an urgent call to support LGBTQ students and the organizations, staff, and faculty that champion students’ success and equitable treatment across the country. Point Foundation, the largest LGBTQ scholarship-granting nonprofit in the country, continues to fight for LGBTQ students everywhere by offering support and amplifying the voices of LGBTQ student leaders. While many of these bills impact K-12 schools, they significantly affect students’ mental health during a crucial time in their development and can have long-lasting adverse consequences as they contemplate pursuing higher education.
Anti-LGBTQ Laws Passed in 2023
Of the anti-LGBTQ bills that have been passed into law this year:
- 11 bills include language prohibiting transgender and nonbinary or other gender-diverse students from joining sports teams that align with their gender identity.
- Nine bills allow staff at schools to deadname and use the wrong pronouns for students.
- Six bills specifically prohibit students from using bathrooms that align with students’ gender identities.
- Two bills allow parents to remove any materials they personally deem inappropriate from classrooms or schools.
- Two laws forbid staff and administrators from addressing sexuality or gender in schools.
- Two laws require staff and administrators to out their students’ sexuality.
- One law specifies that no speech, including anti-LGBTQ hate speech, is restricted on campuses.
- A law that removes funding for diversity, equity, and inclusion programming- which commonly supports LGBTQ students.
Advocate for LGBTQ Students in 2023
“I think that now more than ever it’s important to have strong activism from our community,” said Point BIPOC Scholar Jose Gamboa (he/him). “We’ve seen it in the news and we’ve experienced it in our reality every day: attacks against our community have gone from online spaces and now we’re seeing it more than ever in legislation in physical confrontations, and verbal confrontation and even just attacks against companies who joining celebrating pride, for example. That is just a call for people to take action and stand up.”
As an international studies student living in Florida, Jose has seen firsthand the effect of anti-LGBTQ legislation on a community. In 2022, Florida passed a bill limiting discourse on sexuality and gender in Florida classrooms, commonly referred to as the Don’t Say Gay law.
Since then, many hateful laws across the country have been introduced by local and state politicians. Activists can have a great impact on LGBTQ rights by acting on the local level, Jose said.
“The truth is that if we don’t fight for that improvement we can very much (go) backwards, as we have been seeing,” Jose said. “And that just calls for new leaders, or even our existing leaders, to be held accountable, to really take a stand when they need to, and stop ignoring the concerns of our community.”
Nic Oke (he/him), a Point Flagship Scholar with a FedEx Scholarship, said the current attacks on LGBTQ rights overlap with legislative attacks on the rights of BIPOC Americans. Discriminatory efforts to remove classes and coursework teaching Black history along with anti-diversity, equity, and inclusion campaigns at the state and local levels negatively impact the ability to study and teach BIPOC histories and provide services to diverse communities. As an educator, advocate, and student of sociology, philosophy, and criminal justice, Nic said it is important to include and uplift BIPOC and intersectional voices in the fight for justice.
“If we are going to move beyond that to a politics which is able to incorporate more people into our spaces and fight for more rights, we have to become very strategic and very meticulous and very serious about making sure that we’re including and centering all different types of voices in our advocacy, having all different types of people present in our spaces and having all different types of issues central to our organization,” Nic said.
Nic and Jose are just two of countless college and university student scholars at Point who are leading the cause for justice in their schools and communities. As advocates for their peers and intersectional communities, Point Scholars leverage the resources and support of the Point community to become the leaders of the future in industries around the world.
States With Anti-LGBTQ Legislation in the Classroom
Alabama passed one bill into law that affects LGBTQ equity in education. House Bill 261 requires public two-year and four-year institutions of higher education to prohibit transgender, nonbinary, and gender-diverse students from joining sports teams. Three additional bills were held up in their committees.
Alaska adjourned before four bills that affected LGBTQ students could pass.
Arkansas passed four bills into law that affect LGBTQ students in classrooms. Senate Bill 294 prevents teachers from discussing gender identity or sexual identity in classrooms under fifth grade. House Bill 1468 restricts staff from addressing unemancipated minors by pronouns or names other than what’s provided on their birth certificate. Senate Bill 125 requires all universities and two-year public institutions to protect students’ right to free speech across campus without limitation. House Bill 1156 prohibits transgender students from using restrooms that match their gender identity.
Colorado legislature adjourned having defeated one bill affecting LGBTQ students.
Connecticut legislature defeated one anti-LGBTQ student bill and another bill affecting LGBTQ students was held in committee.
Florida passed two bills affecting LGBTQ students and LGBTQ services. House Bill 1069 which requires all health and reproduction lessons to be approved by the Department of Education and extends previous legislation prohibiting information about sexual orientation through grade eight. This bill also allows for parents and the board to remove classroom and library books and makes it illegal to use appropriate pronouns for students if they don’t match the students’ sex assigned at birth. Senate Bill 266 prevents colleges and universities from spending state or federal funds on any programs that support diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Georgia adjourned before the legislature could finalize three pieces of legislation targeting LGBTQ students.
Hawaii adjourned before four education-related anti-LGBTQ bills could pass.
Idaho passed Senate Bill 1100 which restricts trans, nonbinary, and gender-diverse people to use school bathrooms according to their gender identities. Another bill affecting LGBTQ students was defeated.
Indiana passed one bill into law; House Bill 1608, which restricts kindergarten through third-grade teachers and staff from talking about human sexuality and requires teachers to notify parents if any student requests they be called by a different pronoun or name. Five additional anti-LGBTQ bills affecting places of education were defeated.
Iowa passed three anti-LGBTQ bills that affect students in places of learning. House Bill 2238 prohibits transgender or gender-diverse students in primary schools from joining sports teams. Bill SF 482 prohibits students from using bathrooms that align with their gender identities. Bill SF 496 allows parents to remove books and materials from public schools. Eight anti-LGBTQ bills affecting places of education were defeated.
Kansas passed one anti-LGBTQ bill that affects schools into law that prohibits transgender students from joining sports teams that align with their gender identity. Three bills were stuck in their committees before the session ended.
Kentucky’s passed two laws that affect LGBTQ students in schools. SB 150 requires teachers to out their students and prohibits students from using pronouns that align with their gender identity. SB 145 requires school sports teams to admit students only on the basis of sex assigned at birth. Five anti-LGBTQ bills affecting students were defeated.
Louisiana’s two bills affecting LGBTQ students in schools have not yet been passed into law but were sent to the Governor’s desk for executive approval. House Bill 466 prevents teachers from discussing sexual orientation or gender identity in public schools. House Bill 81 requires schools to use names and pronouns that are on the student’s birth certificates unless receiving written instructions to do otherwise from parents.
Maine’s four bills relating the LGBTQ students in education were all held in committee before the legislature adjourned at the end of June
Maryland’s one bill affecting LGBTQ students in schools was defeated.
Minnesota adjourned May 22 and the five bills affecting LGBTQ students in education were stalled in their committees.
Mississippi’s dozen anti-LGBTQ education-related bills were all defeated in their committees.
Missouri passed one bill affecting LGBTQ students in schools. Senate Bill 39 prohibits students from participating in sports that align with their gender identity. 15 bills were defeated in session, and one was stalled in committee before the session adjourned.
Montana passed one bill into law before the legislature adjourned in May. Senate Bill 518 allows parents to withdraw students from school if they object to a lesson, requires schools to gain parental permission to use pronouns or a name that differs from students’ birth certificates, and allows teachers to misgender and deadname students in classrooms. Three additional anti-LGBTQ bills were defeated in session.
Nebraska’s one anti-LGBTQ education-related bill was held in committee before the legislature adjourned.
Nevada defeated the one anti-LGBTQ education bill proposed by the legislature.
New Mexico defeated one bill that affected LGBTQ students in places of education.
North Dakota passed four anti-LGBTQ bills affecting students and places of education. House Bill 1473 prohibits students from using bathrooms, locker rooms, and shower rooms that align with their gender identity in places of higher learning, including in dorm buildings. House Bill 1249 prohibits students from participating in sports teams that align with their gender identities. House Bill 1522 forces school employees to provide parents or guardians with information about their students’ “transgender status” and prohibits students from using bathrooms that align with their gender identities. House Bill 1489 prohibits students from participating in sports teams that align with their gender identities in places of higher education. An additional five anti-LGBTQ school-related bills were defeated.
Oklahoma passed one bill that prohibits transgender and gender diverse people from using the bathroom of their gender identity. The remaining 12bills affecting LGBTQ rights in schools were stalled in their committees.
Oregon’s five anti-LGBTQ student bills were stalled in their committee before the legislature adjourned.
South Carolina’s 11 proposed bills that affect LGBTQ students in places of learning were all upheld in committee before the legislature adjourned.
South Dakota failed to pass one bill that affected LGBTQ students in schools.
Tennessee passed four laws that affect LGBTQ students in schools. House Bill 1269 and Senate Bill 1247 allow staff to use pronouns that do not align with students’ gender identity. Senate Bill 1237 and House Bill 306 allow private schools to prohibit transgender students from participating in sports that align with their gender identity. Four additional bills were held in committee before the legislature adjourned.
Texas passed one anti-LGBTQ bill into law that affects schools. Senate Bill 15 prohibits students from participating in sports that align with their gender identity. Sixteen additional anti-LGBTQ school-related bills were defeated.
Utah passed two bills into law that affect LGBTQ students in schools. House Bill 209 prohibits students from participating in sports teams that don’t align with the sex identified in the student’s birth certificate. Senate Bill 100 requires schools to out their students if they use pronouns different than their records and requires parental permission for students to use a name or pronoun different than the student’s records.
Vermont’s one anti-LGBTQ bill that affects schools was held in committee before the legislature adjourned.
Virginia’s legislature defeated 10 anti-LGBTQ bills that affect schools, and one was stalled in committee before the legislature adjourned.
Washington had one anti-LGBTQ bill that was stalled in committee before the legislative session ended.
West Virginia had four bills that affected LGBTQ students that were stalled in committee before the session ended.
Wyoming passed one anti-LGBTQ bill that affects students into law. House Bill 209 prohibits transgender and nonbinary students from participating in sports teams that most closely align with their gender identity. Two additional bills were defeated before the legislature adjourned.
Still in Session
Arizona’s governor vetoed two anti-LGBTQ bills that affect schools. Two bills are still advancing in the legislature.
California is in session until Sept. 8. One bill being considered requires school personnel to report a student’s sexuality or gender identity to their parents.
Massachusetts’ three anti-LGBTQ bills affecting students in education are still advancing in the legislature. House Bill 509 makes sex education nonmandatory for school employees, administrators, and students. The second bill, H.458 prohibits any classroom discussions or lessons on gender orientation or sexuality.
Michigan is still considering three bills that affect LGBTQ students’ rights in places of education. House Bills 4195 and 4510 prevent students from using bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity. House Bill 4546 prevents students from participating in school sports that align with their gender.
New Hampshire defeated one bill that affects LGBTQ students in education and indefinitely postponed another anti-LGBTQ student bill.
New Jersey is still considering four bills that affect LGBTQ students in schools. Senate Bill 585 allows parents to withdraw students from a school district if they object to the learning material and allows them to receive a voucher to put their child in a private school. This bill’s sister bill, A1418 is also still in consideration. Bills S589 and A1630 prohibit students from participating in sports teams that align with their gender identity.
North Carolina has seven anti-LGBTQ student bills still being considered in by the legislature. Senate Bill 49 restricts classroom discussion about gender and sexual identity and requires staff to “out” students if they chose to use pronouns or a name different than what is in school records. Senate Bill 639 (with sister House Bill 808) prohibits young people from receiving gender-affirming care. House Bill 574 (along with Senate Bill 631) stops students from participating in sports teams that align with their gender. House Bill 786 restricts young people from receiving gender-affirming care.
Ohio has three anti-LGBTQ bills still being considered by the state legislature. One prevents all state school students from using restrooms that align with their gender identities. House Bill 8 requires teachers to notify parents and guardians of classroom materials that address sexuality and requires instructors and staff to notify parents of all changes in their child’s mental health. House Bill 6 would prohibit students from participating in sports teams that align with their gender identity.
Pennsylvania has two bills currently being considered by the legislature. House Bill 216 prohibits students in schools and universities from participating in sports teams that align with their gender identities. House Bill 319 prohibits schools from teaching anything relating to sexual or gender identities and requires schools to inform parents and guardians about any changes to the student’s mental or physical health.
Rhode Island legislators are still considering two anti-LGBTQ bills that affect schools. House Bill 5688 allows parents to object to any classroom materials regarding sexuality and gender and allows parents to remove their students from any class. Senate Bill 391 prohibits students from participating in sports teams that align with their gender identity.
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