From researchers to policymakers to parents of LGBTQ kids, MAP’s Equality Maps are a vital resource for anyone looking for a quick, yet detailed snapshot of the current state of LGBTQ laws and policies in the United States.
At MAP, we know the patchwork of federal, state, and local level laws affecting LGBTQ people across the country can be overwhelming. That’s why the Equality Maps are important: By offering a state-by-state comparison of the policy landscape, the Equality Maps help us identify gaps in protections for LGBTQ people in ways that are understandable and persuasive to shift people’s thinking and drive action.
To keep you informed on this regularly changing landscape, here are the updates as of April 2022.
▸▸ State Policy Updates
🏫 LGBTQ School Censorship
In March, Florida enacted a law that, among other provisions, censors discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in the classroom — a type of policy often called “Don’t Say Gay or Trans.” It is the first state to pass this kind of curriculum censorship bill since 2001. Our Equality Maps track laws that are currently in effect, but so far in 2022 at least 20 states have introduced bills that would censor LGBTQ-related curricula, materials, student groups, and more.
For more information on this legislative trend over the last few years, see MAP’s report: Curriculum Censorship & Hostile School Climate Bills.
⚕️ Bans on Best Practice Medical Care for Trans Youth
In February, Texas took executive action to attempt to restrict best practice medical care for transgender youth, though these actions do not change the law in Texas or actually ban this care. Shortly after, the governor ordered the state’s Department of Family and Protective Services to begin investigating families of transgender children for potential child abuse. These investigations were later halted by a statewide injunction.
- While not legally binding, these executive actions have nonetheless caused harm to families of transgender children in Texas. As a result of the scale and impact of these actions, we’ve added a new category to our map on medical care bans for transgender youth to reflect this development. However, it is important to emphasize that these actions have not changed the law in Texas. This means that medical care for transgender youth is still legal in the state.
In March, Arizona banned gender-affirming surgical care for minors, though the bill does not ban other forms of best practice medical care like hormone blockers. The ban does not go into effect for another year.
🏐 Bans on Transgender Youth Participation in Sports
Multiple states have taken action to ban transgender students from participating in sports consistent with their gender identity. In March:
- Iowa, Oklahoma, and Arizona passed bills banning transgender students from playing in K-12 and higher education sports.
- Utah’s governor vetoed a ban for K-12 sports, which the legislature overrode shortly thereafter.
- Indiana’s governor vetoed a ban for K-12 sports, but lawmakers in the state say they intend to override the veto when they return in May for technical corrections.
With these new states, now more than one in four (28%) transgender youth live in the 14 states with bans on transgender youth participation in sports.
▸▸ Local Policy Updates
Local cities and communities continue to make advances in securing vital nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people. As of April 2022, there are at least 360 municipalities that fully and explicitly prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ people in employment, housing, and public accommodations.
▸▸ MAP Updates
📊 Advancing the Conversation on LGBTQI Inclusive Data
In March, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) released a report focused on advancing data collection on sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex, including variations in sex characteristics. The report emphasizes that improved and standardized data collection is vital for understanding the challenges LGBTQI people face.
For more than a year, MAP has brought together leading LGBTQI and allied organizations to advance the goal of advancing LGBTQI data inclusion. That’s why MAP was excited to sign an open letter — joining 189 other LGBTQI and allied organizations — calling for renewed efforts to advance sexual orientation, gender identity, and intersex data inclusion on surveys, in administrative data, and in clinical settings.
With ten organizations, we released this fact sheet about the significance of the NASEM report and how it can be useful to advance data inclusion. Read more about MAP’s work to advance LGBTQ data inclusion.
📚 Advancing Research on Curriculum Censorship & Hostile School Climate Bills
In March, MAP and the Equality Federation released a new report covering the wave of state legislation that censors discussions of race, ethnicity, religion, and LGBTQ people in schools and creates a hostile climate for students.
From 2020 to 2021, these kinds of bills nearly quadrupled in number. As of March 2022, at least 280 hostile school climate and curriculum censorship bills have been introduced — more than in the previous two years combined.
The report covers school censorship bills that ban or severely limit what schools can teach about race, racism, history, sexism, and LGBTQ people and issues, without regard for educational standards. It also explores bills that undermine a safe, supportive school environment for all students, including bills that would ban transgender athletes from school sports, roll back nondiscrimination protections, and restrict the use of a student’s chosen pronoun — all of which put transgender and nonbinary students at increased risk of harassment and exclusion.