State of Emergency for LGBTQ+ Americans?

F Armstrong Photography /
F Armstrong Photography /

The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBTQ+ advocacy group, declared a “state of emergency” on June 6, 2023, for LGBTQ Americans in the United States.  

The declaration, the first of its kind in the organization’s 40-year history, aims to address “an unprecedented and dangerous spike in anti-LGBTQ+ legislative assaults sweeping state houses this year.” 

HRC president Kelley Robinson explained, “LGBTQ+ Americans are living in an emergency. The multiplying threats facing millions in our community are not just perceived — they are real, tangible, and dangerous.” 

A dire warning is front and center of the HRC website, stating:  

“We have officially declared a state of emergency for LGBTQ+ people in the United States for the first time following an unprecedented and dangerous spike in anti-LGBTQ+ legislative assaults sweeping state houses this year. More than 75 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been signed into law this year alone, more than doubling last year’s number, which was previously the worst year on record. Our community is in danger, but we won’t stop fighting back — not now, not ever.” 

To back its claims, the website prominently features a chart calling out states for limiting or banning controversial LGBTQ “rights,” including transgender sports bans, banning so-called “gender-affirming care” for children, banning teachers from discussing sexual topics with children in the classroom, and “forcing” transgenders to use their biological gender-allocated bathrooms. 

According to the HRC, “30.9% of all transgender youth aged 13-17 are living in states where they can no longer access lifesaving, 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.” The website subtly suggests that transgenders are being denied basic healthcare services in the United States, which is entirely untrue. 

Florida’s governor-turned-presidential-candidate is squarely in the crosshairs of the HRC. Per the website, “Look at Governor Ron DeSantis, who has weaponized his position as a lawmaker to target LGBTQ+ families, Black and brown Floridians, immigrants, and private businesses. Even with the majority of Floridians forcefully opposing his anti-LGBTQ laws and despite surging support for LGBTQ+ families nationally, DeSantis has been crisscrossing the country to attack our community.” 

Of course, the data HRC is referencing is skewed in their favor. 52% of Democratic voters in the sunshine state backed the passing of Florida’s 2022 Parental Rights/LGBTQ bill. Among all voters, 50% of those polled supported the bill and only 37% stated a strong disapproval of the legislation. 

2022 polling suggests that while 71% of Americans support gay and lesbian relationships and a similar number back same-sex marriage, transgender issues don’t fare as well in the court of American opinion. A full 60% of Americans believe that gender is assigned at birth. The same poll reveals that 62% of Americans support gender-affirming counseling and therapy for youth, but only 31% support hormonal and puberty-blocking treatments for kids. 

The poll weighs in on transgender women and girls in sports, with 62% of respondents opposing transgender participation in youth sports, 66% against transgenders competing in high school women’s sports, and 65% opposing transgender competition in college and professional sports. 

Florida’s governor has a long history of ticking off LGBTQ advocates. In March, Florida joined the “state travel advisory” list, a list of destinations considered “hostile” to the LGBTQ+ community.  

Equality Florida believes that DeSantis is making “extremist policies the centerpiece of his presidential campaign strategy, adding that he has “weaponized state agencies to silence critics and impose sanctions on large and small companies that dissent with his culture war agenda. 

Equality Florida’s executive director Nadine Smith dramatically stated, in March of this year, “It is with great sadness that we must respond to those asking if it is safe to travel to Florida or remain in the state as the laws strip away basic rights and freedoms.” 

DeSantis, however, is unimpressed by the doomsday claims made by LGTBQ advocacy groups. Responding to the “travel advisory” in March. “This is a stunt,” DeSantis said. “If you want to waste your time on a stunt, that’s fine. I’m not wasting my time on your stunts, OK. I’m going to make sure we’re getting things done here, and we’re going to continue to make this state a great state.” 

As part of the National State of Emergency declared by HRC, guidebooks including state-by-state “anti-LGBTQ” resources, resources for financing a move to safer states and finding employment, Identifying the source of harmful rhetoric and legislative attacks, and Information for filing complaints for violation of civil rights laws can be found on the website. The guidebooks are issued 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.” 

By definition, a State of Emergency allows the government to introduce special measures, such as increasing army or police presence, to a region affected by a natural disaster or civil disorder. There is no “State of Emergency” based on legislation that an opposing party dislikes, despite the dramatic words used by the HRC to inflame and incite the LGBTQ community. 

But if there were a need for armed forces to be at the forefront of an LGBTQ State of Emergency, don’t worry. 

The Navy is already on it.