The Movement Advancement Project (MAP), an organization dedicated to monitoring LGBTQ+ policies and voting issues, has released a groundbreaking report titled “Under Fire.” This five-part study sheds light on a disturbing national trend, painting a bleak picture of the challenges facing LGBTQ+ individuals in the United States.
Rising Threats to Gender-Affirming Care and Healthcare Denials
The report exposes an alarming increase in states restricting access to gender-affirming care for both transgender youth and adults, coupled with the passage of religious exemptions allowing the denial of medical care to LGBTQ+ individuals. Such measures pose significant threats to the health and well-being of the community, raising concerns about the erosion of medical rights based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Erosion of LGBTQ+ Inclusivity in Education
In addition to healthcare restrictions, the report highlights the censorship of LGBTQ+ issues in schools and the suppression of accurate identity documents for transgender individuals. These actions not only stifle educational opportunities but also contribute to the marginalization of LGBTQ+ youth. Furthermore, LGBTQ+ students face adversity as ten states enact policies that effectively criminalize the use of their chosen names and pronouns.
The Intersection of LGBTQ+ Equality and Voting Rights
MAP’s findings draw a troubling connection between LGBTQ+ equality and voting rights. States with high rankings for LGBTQ+ equality tend to exhibit robust democratic practices, while those with lower equality scores also score poorly on democracy and voting rights. This overlap underscores the interconnectedness of fundamental rights and the need for comprehensive advocacy.
A Multi-Layered Threat to Democracy
The report also exposes attempts to reshape access to the ballot and undermine democracy. With an alarming surge in anti-LGBTQ+ bills in 2023 and efforts to disenfranchise voters, the LGBTQ+ community finds itself entangled in a multifaceted threat. Voter ID laws, gerrymandered districts, and legislative interference pose significant barriers to electing pro-LGBTQ+ lawmakers.
Rising Anti-LGBTQ+ Rhetoric and Violence
Alongside these legislative challenges, the LGBTQ+ community faces a disturbing rise in anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric and violence. The report highlights threats and violence targeting LGBTQ+ individuals and their allies, emphasizing the urgency of addressing this multifaceted crisis.
While the Movement Advancement Project has yet to release a comprehensive plan to combat these challenges, the organization believes that raising awareness of these alarming trends is a crucial first step. Advocating for voting rights and democratic principles, even as political attacks persist, remains essential to advancing an inclusive vision for the LGBTQ+ community and other marginalized communities in the United States. As Naomi Goldberg, MAP’s Deputy Director and LGBTQ Policy Director, notes, “When our democracy is strong, LGBTQ+ people and other marginalized communities can more effectively advance policies that benefit all of us.”