Image courtesy of Daniel James via Unsplash

We Need to be Talking About the Anti-LGBTQ+ Bills

March 15, 2023

The queer community is facing unbelievable discrimination in the form of anti-LGBTQ+ bills. Discriminatory legislation has been proposed in roughly 37 states. As of Wednesday, March 8, there were 389 proposed bills. Twenty more were proposed in the following week. This issue is only growing, and the only way to resolve it is to act. 

If passed, this legislation will not only be damaging for the queer community but for society as a whole. They limit the queer community’s access to healthcare, freedom of speech and expression, public accommodations, education, accurate identification and civil rights as a whole. In other words, our society is shunning the lives of those within the LGBTQ+ community. 

These bills are openly controversial, making it difficult to initiate open, unbiased conversations.  You are either with the LGBTQ+ community or against them; there is no in between when it comes to human rights. Millikin students are afraid: What are they supposed to do if these bills become law in their home states?

Tukoi Jarret shared that they are most concerned for their friends. College allows students to meet people from all around the country. Jarret may be from a state where these bills have not become law, but many of their friends live in areas that are no longer safe. They feel as though not enough is being done by the public. 

“There certainly need to be protests, we need to make our voices heard beyond just the ballot box,” they said.

While there have been quite a few protests against the passing of these bills, there has been limited reporting on them in the media. 

Jarret believes that, “The rhetoric used to support these laws is not seeing enough pushback.” 

Evidence in online videos supports this perspective. In one, a state representative is seen questioning the reasoning behind a proposed bill and the representative who proposed it had no genuine argument behind her proposal. Are other proposed bills (even the ones that have become laws) based on the same lack of criteria?

It is terrifying to know that people such as this are being allowed to put restraints on others, simply because they do not agree with their way of life. Student Sophie Nicholson worries about the bills’ impact on the education and healthcare systems. 

“Even if you think that it is within a parents right to regulate what their child is consuming in terms of what kind of narrative it’s giving about sexuality or gender,” she said, “I don’t think it gives you the right to regulate that for all children in schools.” 

Many of the proposed bills have to do with preventing students from discussing their sexuality, or mandating that teachers out queer students to their families and faculty. Nicholson believes that this will do more damage in the long run, especially to the queer youth who are being shunned by society and forced back into the closet. 

Nicholson’s sibling is nonbinary, and she worries they will be greatly affected by a limited access to healthcare. Before receiving gender-affirming treatment, her sibling was struggling with their mental health.

Nicholson believes that “These bills that are threatening kids like them, that will become a reality. It’s going to just worsen the mental health of those people…They’re just creating barriers for the small percentage of people who really need it.” 

Education is the key to an evolving and accepting society, something that these bills inherently threaten. For students like Jarret and for Nicholson’s sibling, it is vital that voices opposing this legislation are loud.

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