Run Down of Bad Bills

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Run Down of Bad Bills

By: Andrew Wallace on November 6, 2016

In state legislatures where almost 200 anti-LGBTQ bills  have been introduced this year alone, most are happening in southern states. Mississippi’s religious exemption bill and Tennessee’s anti LGBTQ counseling bill offer two examples of harsh bills aimed at codifying discrimination against LGBTQ southerners into state law.  
In North Carolina, the passage of HB2, an anti-trans local pre-emption bill, has galvanized North Carolinians in response to this bill in powerful ways. Grassroots organizerslong standing coalitions,policy change advocatesbusiness leaderslocal municipalitiesartists and national celebrities have taken public stands against HB2. The Institute for Southern Studies offers a case for why the HB2 boycotts are working.
Funders are stepping up in many ways in response to these harmful bills. Two North Carolina based funders offered a public statement calling for inclusion and acceptance in the face of bills such as HB2. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation made a public statement supporting human rights of LGBTQ people  and  cancelled an event in North Carolina in response to HB2.
And, in a bold move, Third Wave Fund has launched the Flushing Transphobia Fund which is a rapid response fund for direct action and community mobilizing in response to bathroom bills and similar anti-trans legislation across the country.


The conditions that allow for these bad bills to occur are the very conditions that we seek to address through the Out in the South Initiative by transforming how philanthropy supports and sustains southern LGBTQ communities. Too often southern communities are deemed “unwinnable”, “too religious” or “too difficult to organize” to warrant any significant investment in infrastructure that supports LGBTQ communities. Through our work, we hope to change this dynamic and ensure that southern LGBTQ people and their families are valued as part of the fabric of every community in the region.

How can you stay up to date on the state of anti-LGBTQ bills around the country? Here’s a helpful resource from the ACLU’s website, which is updated weekly and clarifies the various kinds of anti-LGBTQ bills currently at play, which include religious exemption bills, bills pre-empting local protections and anti-transgender bills. This article from the Huffington Post offers a good overview and a recent news article from our friends in South Carolina highlights the challenges state based advocates and organizers are facing during the “post marriage equality” chapter of LGBTQ rights work.


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