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. To keep you informed on this regularly changing landscape, here are the updates as of May 2022.
▸▸ State Policy Updates
Policy changes in the following states resulted in updates to five Equality Maps: Bans on Best Practice Medical Care, Bans on Transgender Youth Participation in Sports, Identity Document Laws & Policy, LGBTQ Curricular Laws, and Religious Exemptions.
🏐 Bans on transgender youth participation in sports
- Kentucky became the 15th state to ban trans youth from participating in school sports after the state legislature voted to override the governor’s veto. The ban applies to grades 6–12 and higher education.
- Tennessee’s governor signed two new bills into law, building on the state’s existing athlete ban from last year. Last year’s law bans trans youth from playing sports in grades 5–12. The two new laws this year add penalties that withhold state funds from schools that do not comply with the ban (signed in April) and extend the existing ban to college sports (signed in early May).
- Georgia signed a law that allows for the creation of a committee with the power to decide whether to ban trans youth from playing school sports, but that law does not itself ban trans kids from playing sports. However, the state’s high school athletic association later voted to ban trans kids from playing high school sports. This is not reflected on our map because our maps generally focus on state laws, not athletic association policies.
⚕️ Bans on best practice medical care for transgender youth
- In February, Texas took executive action to attempt to restrict best practice medical care for trans youth, though these actions do not change the law in Texas or actually ban this care. 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 temporarily halted by a statewide injunction, and last week the Texas Supreme Court ruled that the governor did not have the authority to order such investigations. The Court, however, also struck down the injunction blocking investigations, but legal action against the state continues in order to protect the ability of families to access best practice medical care for their trans kids.
- Alabama became the third state to ban best practice medical care for trans youth, and the first state to make providing such care a felony crime. As a result, we’ve added an icon to our map to note this felony distinction.
- The law also contains a provision that requires teachers and school staff to “out” kids to their parents — another first of its kind. With this law and the new school related laws below, Alabama is now the lowest ranked state in our policy tally.
🏷️ Identity document laws and policies
In name change laws:
- Delaware and Maine removed their previous requirements that individuals publish announcements of their name change in local papers or other outlets. Maine’s previous requirement had allowed exceptions at the discretion of the court, but the new law makes it clear there is no requirement at all. Delaware’s law was stricter, but now both states have removed the requirements entirely.
- A judge in Montana temporarily blocked enforcement of last year’s law that required people to show proof of “surgical procedure” before being able to update the sex marker on their birth certificate.
- In Vermont, a law was signed improving the process for updating a gender marker on a birth certificate, including allowing for “X” markers. Formerly, the state required a court order to change the birth certificate. The law goes into effect later this summer.
- Oklahoma passed a new law — the first of its kind — banning birth certificates from offering “X” markers or any other options except for male or female. As a result, we’ve added a new icon to our map to reflect this.
⛪ Religious exemptions
Arizona signed a new law granting religious exemptions in child welfare services, which allows state-licensed child welfare agencies the option to refuse to work with individuals or families (such as LGBTQ people or people of a different faith than the agency) based on the agency’s religious beliefs. This makes Arizona the 12th state with this type of religious exemption.
🏫 School-related laws
- Alabama became the sixth state to have an LGBTQ curriculum censorship law, or a “Don’t Say Gay or Trans” law.
- In the same bill as the Don’t Say Gay law, Alabama banned transgender youth from using school facilities consistent with their gender identity. As a result, we’ve added a new icon to our map on school nondiscrimination laws to reflect this development. By contrast, 19 states and D.C. have issued explicit guidance on the treatment and inclusion of transgender students, including in school facilities.
▸▸ Local Policy Updates
Local cities and communities continue to make advances in securing vital nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people. As of May 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 research on COVID-19’s impact on LGBTQI+ organizations
Last month, MAP published another report in our ongoing series tracking the impact of COVID-19 on LGBTQI+ and allied movement organizations. The report covers Q4 of 2021 and highlights year-in-retrospect financials, “The Great Resignation,” and strategies organizations are taking to support, hire, and retain staff.
See this and all of our COVID-related content at our COVID-19 issue page.