Home » The Republican War On LGBTQ People Has Gone Even Further

The Republican War On LGBTQ People Has Gone Even Further

Gwendolyn Herzig, a transgender pharmacist, went to the Arkansas statehouse last month to in Missouri, a state that is also seeking to ban gender-affirming health care for minors and incarcerated adults, would make performing in drag in public or where a minor could see it punishable by one year in jail and a $2,000 fine.

Even in Virginia, where the number of Democrats in the state Senate all but guarantees homophobic and transphobic bills can’t advance, Republicans have tried to jam through a slew of extreme bills to prove to a blood-red base that they too are trying to restrict the rights of the LGBTQ community.

One such bill would require students to submit identification of their “biological sex” on a form, which requires a doctor’s signature, in order to play sports. The proposal is an attempt to ban transgender students from participating in athletics.

“If you think requiring 1.6 million students to have their genitals inspected is good policy, a lot of parents are going to object to that,” Democratic Virginia House Del. Danica Roem told HuffPost.

Republicans have kept their sights set on anti-LGBTQ legislation, even though many high-profile candidates pushing a far-right, culture war-led agenda were defeated in the 2022 midterms.

“It’s not all partisanship. There are some true believers,” Roem said. “But any time they spend worrying about drag queens, that’s time they’re not worried about transportation infrastructure and overcrowded classrooms.”

As extremist groups protest outside of public libraries that host drag queen story hours and GOP politicians deride racial justice and LGBTQ rights as “woke” ideologies, it seems that the deluge of bills is an easy way to score political points with a base that continues to lurch rightward.

“It’s not about public service, it’s about how they can rise in the ranks of the party and get all the attention,” Williams said. “And the only way to do that is to be anti-everything and stand for nothing.”

Many of the anti-drag bills and other measures targeting the LGBTQ community will likely face legal challenges. But advocates and Democrats say these bills don’t have to become law to cause harm.

“They’re causing actual, real damage to their constituents,” Roem said. “You cannot serve your constituents by attacking them.”


March 2023