The State of LGBTQIA+ Rights in 2024: Challenges, Victories, and the Path Forward

Stonewall Pride Parade

Rising Challenges For LGBTQ+ Rights and Legislative Battles

In 2024, the landscape ofLGBTQIA+ rights in the United States is marked by challenges and victories, reflecting a dynamic struggle for equality and acceptance. Despite a resurgence of anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation, characterized by a significant slowdown in passage and increased opposition, there are signs of resilience and progress. Last year, in response to the onslaught of anti-LGBTQIA+ bills sweeping through various states, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) declared a state of emergency. This alarming trend galvanized more allies to stand up in support of queer rights. According to HRC President Kelly Robinson, the attack on LGBTQIA+youth, in particular, has spurred pushback throughout the country.

Victories For LGBTQIA+ Rights Amid Adversity

While 37 anti-LGBTQIA+ bills were passed as of early June, (a decrease from the previous year’s total of over 90), cause for concern lingers. Of these bills, 11 specifically targeted transgender individuals, highlighting the ongoing threats to their rights and dignity. Yet, significant victories have emerged in unexpected places. In Georgia, every proposed anti-LGBTQIA+ bill was defeated, demonstrating the power of grassroots activism and advocacy. The recent decision by the United Methodist Church to reverse a 40-year ban on LGBTQ+ clergy and same-sex weddings reflects shifting attitudes within religious institutions. This news injects a sense of victory and renewed value as the community celebrates Pride Month.

United Methodist church members celebrating pride. They recently reversed a ban on LGBTQ+ clergy and same sex weddings.

Pro-Equality Legislation and Persistent Attacks

Additionally, 10 states have passed 27 pro-equality laws as a counterbalance to discriminatory legislation. Yet, outside of the legal arena, attacks on queer individuals persist. In Florida, Governor DeSantis continued targeting transgender students, attacking queer and black content in books, and restricting LGBTQIA+expression, including banning rainbow lights on bridges during Pride. The Jacksonville Queer community, in a display of solidarity and resistance, defiantly illuminated the Main Street bridge.

International Progress for LGBTQIA+ Rights and Setbacks

Internationally, progress is mixed. Thailand is poised to approve same-sex marriage, Estonia passed same-sex marriage, and civil unions will be legal in Latvia starting in July. Ukraine continues to advocate for civil partnerships, though progress is stalled due to the ongoing conflict. Namibia awaits a high court ruling on the repeal of sodomy laws, while attacks on the LGBTQIA+ community rise. Meanwhile, Ghana passed a bill in February to lengthen jail terms for gay sex, showcasing the complexity of universal human rights and cultural relativism.

Yes, that Ghana, the one out on the forefront of combating the dire effects of Fast Fashion. The complexity of universal human rights and cultural relativism aside, we imagine that those working at the forefront of environmentalism will be part of a cultural change here, too. Looking back at last year’s breakdown of colonial legacies and anti-queer cultural attitudes, Ghana was where the indigenous Dagaaba assigned gender based on energy. So once again, the stain of British colonialism and exploitation seems to have dripped down into this egregious legal system.

Moving Forward: Resilience and Advocacy in the queer community

Black trans celebrators at the philly transmarch

As we approach the pivotal year of 2024, the urgency of defeating regressive forces embodied by figures like Donald Trump and fighting for LGBTQ+ rights cannot be overstated. Much like the global surge in anti-rights movements, Trump’s tenure in office posed untold threats to marginalized communities, including the LGBTIQ+ populace. His administration actively rolled back protections for LGBTIQ+ individuals and sought to undermine the hard-won progress toward equality.

The parallels between national and global anti-rights movements loom large. Women have lost the right to control their bodies and more is promised. (Factoid: more than 17% of voters believe Joe Biden is responsible for the overturning of Roe v. Wade, as opposed to the man who appointed this “TRUMP” COURT.) We’ve been here before, lived in a country where draconian measures restricted freedoms. The rise of fascism in the United States is an old story. (listen to Rachel Maddow’s Ultra, season 2 for more of an explanation)

Under Trump’s previous tenure, hate crimes against LGBTQ+ individuals escalated. This reflected a broader trend of emboldened discrimination and violence. His policies and rhetoric perpetuated a culture of fear and hostility, marginalizing vulnerable communities.

By mobilizing support, building coalitions, and amplifying the voices of those most impacted by the far-right’s policies, we can work towards an inclusive and just future for all. The fight for LGBTQ+ rights is not just a political battle but a moral imperative, a commitment to standing up for the rights and dignity of every individual. Together, we can overcome the forces of hatred and division and build a brighter, more inclusive future for generations to come.

–KL Dunn


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