LGBTQ population growth demonstrates even more why bigoted bills must be opposed


A demographic sea change is occurring in the United States.

The number of adults identifying as LGBTQ has almost doubled in the last decade, from 3.5 percent in 2012 to 7.2 percent today, according to a new Gallup poll. Age matters, with 20 percent of Gen Z adults in the 2022 survey (ages 18 to 25) identifying as LGBTQ. Clearly state legislators have not caught up with the changing demographics in this sphere, any more than they’ve caught up with the fact that a third of our adult nation identifies as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular.”

And that explains why there is such an onslaught of religion-based anti-LGBTQ proposals in various statehouses. As the Freedom From Religion Foundation revealed earlier this month, its legislative team is already tracking more than 1,000 bills introduced this year — most of them awful. More than 300 bills have been introduced on abortion, most of them restrictive. Likewise we’re seeing more than 300 mostly anti-LGBTQ proposals in state legislatures.

These legislative attacks tend to target transgender individuals, who make up fewer than one in 10 overall of adults identifying as LGBTQ. Common anti-LGBTQ bills:

  • Copy Florida’s infamous “Don’t Say Gay” law, which requires teachers to “out” trans children to parents and censors or monitors classroom discussion about sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • Encourage anti-LGBTQ discrimination by religious student groups.
  • Interfere with basic medical care of transgender youth by criminalizing such care as child abuse or child endangerment.
  • Perpetuate myths about drag performances and ban “story hours.”
  • Allow conversion therapy, in some cases with Christian fundamentalists and their lackeys in state legislators seeking to reverse appropriate bans on this discredited anti-gay practice that is uniformly essentially a Christian ministry.
  • Trigger laws to make same-sex marriage illegal, should the Supreme Court overturn Obergefell, the decision giving us marriage equality.

While there may be genuine controversy over when to use hormone inhibitors or take more radical steps for trans minors, these are questions for the medical profession, parents of minors and the minors themselves. Legislators largely motivated by religious zealotry (or appeasing their religious base) are proposing to make themselves the psychiatric and medical arbiters, replacing the medical profession. Extreme bills are being introduced, such as a Kansas bill banning gender-affirming medical treatment until age 21. The Christian-named Oklahoma “Millstone Act” would go even further in denying a person under the age of 26 from accessing gender-affirming health care, putting the lie to the idea that legislators are only concerned about safeguarding minors. The enemies of LGBTQ rights are the same as the enemies of abortion rights. Both are attacks on bodily autonomy, with individuals and the medical profession under assault by both church and state. And just as the majority of Americans support legal abortion, so do they overwhelmingly oppose anti-transgender laws.

What right does any bystander, much less a legislature, have to decide what gender someone may identify as (if choosing any gender at all), whether a child wears a skirt or pants to school, which performers may or may not lead public story hours for children — much less who adults may love and marry?

The Freedom From Religion Foundation membership, according to our most recent membership survey in 2020, is disproportionately LGBTQ at almost 12 percent. This makes perfect sense, because the anti-LGBTQ war is a religious crusade.

It is the Old Testament that calls a man who lives with another man “an abomination” (Leviticus 18:22) and barbarically orders they shall be put to death, “their blood shall be upon them.” (Leviticus 20:13) It is the bible that says it is “an abomination” for women to wear men’s garments, and vice versa. (Deuteronomy 22:5) (And isn’t it a hoot that the same zealots who recite this verse worship in churches that routinely produce Sunday school materials depicting biblical male characters wearing togas and skirts?)

The New Testament can’t be let off the hook, either. Paul complains about even the women who are “against nature,” as well as the men who “burned in their lust one toward the other,” reiterating that such people have committed acts “worthy of death.” His real gripe seems to be that they “have pleasure in them that do them.” (Romans 1:26–32)

And there’s the rub — the Christian doctrine (most historically promulgated by the Roman Catholic Church, which bans abortion, contraception and sterilization) that sexual pleasure or love cannot be the primary purpose of sex, only procreation. All else is “sin.” (Ironic coming from the church that has turned the blindest eye to institutional clerical sex abuse of children.)

We are not supposed to base laws in our secular United States of America on someone else’s concept of “sin.” Rational social policy, in short, has nothing to do with the anti-LGBTQ legislation. Be sure to sign up for FFRF action alerts so you can ensure that secular and rational voices are heard over the politically orchestrated hysteria.

A significant — and significantly growing — segment of the population shouldn’t have to be subjected to religion-based legislative calumny.

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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