Anchor Health Statement on States Attacking LGBTQ Youth

Dear friends,

We at Anchor Health are incredibly devastated by the attacks on LGBTQ youth by lawmakers in states across the country, including the passing of the “Don’t Say Gay or Trans” bill and “Stop WOKE Act” in Florida, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott declaring gender-affirming care as “child abuse,” and Idaho proposing a ban on gender-affirming care for trans youth.

On April 24, the Florida House of Representatives passed the “Don’t Say Gay or Trans” bill (HB 1557/SB 1834) and the “Stop WOKE Act” (HB 7/SB 148).

If enacted, the “Don’t Say Gay or Trans” bill will limit any discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third-grade classrooms and allow parents to sue schools that oppose the ruling. This bill will keep teachers from providing a safe classroom for their students and open up already vulnerable LGBTQ youth to attacks and danger. As of March 8, the Florida Senate passed this bill, which means Gov. Ron DeSantis will either sign or veto it.

The “Stop WOKE Act” is also going to the Florida Senate for consideration. This bill will limit protected speech in workplaces and classrooms around topics of gender, sexuality, systemic racism, and discrimination. It will allow employees to file discrimination claims against employers who hold training or discussions about LGBTQ issues, Black history, and other aspects of marginalization and injustice.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is directing the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to investigate gender-affirming care for youth in the state. Supported by state Attorney General Ken Paxton, Gov. Abbott has declared gender-affirming care as “child abuse” under Texas law. Anyone reported to be practicing and supporting gender-affirming care for youth faces criminal charges.

On March 8, the Idaho House of Representatives approved legislation that makes it a felony to provide gender-affirming care to trans youth. The bill, HB 675, will make it a crime, punishable by life in prison, not only to provide gender-affirming care but to provide permission for a minor to receive it, or to permit a minor to travel out of state to receive it. This bill now heads to the Idaho Senate.

2022 is set to surpass any year in history in anti-trans legislation intended to counteract the progression made on the state and national levels toward trans equality.

So far, there are 266 proposed anti-LGBTQ bills across our nation’s state legislatures, with 125 directly targeting trans youth and adults.

We are at a critical and dangerous time in history. If signed into law, these hateful attacks will propel increased censorship, stigma, and erasure of LGBTQ people and communities of color. These attacks are extreme, deliberate, political, and aim to turn back decades of LGBTQ progress. The recent debates around state laws restricting trans rights have directly led to adverse effects on mental health in a reported 85% of trans youth.

To LGBTQ youth, please don’t give up hope. You are loved, and you are perfect just the way you are. We will continue to fight alongside you. Please reach out for support if you need it.

We are not going anywhere.

Anchor Health