A flurry of more than a dozen bills targeting the rights of LGBTQ+ people is working its way through the South Carolina General Assembly – including bills that focus on transgender healthcare, limit rights of LGBTQ+ young people and their parents and censor curriculum.
“These are attacks on every level,” said Adam Polaski, communications director for the Campaign for Southern Equality.
SC United for Justice & Equality coalition summarized the bills into four categories:
- Anti-Transgender Healthcare Bills (H.3551, S.243, S.274), which would prohibit transgender-related healthcare. One bill blocks care for people under 21. Two require school staff to “out” LGBTQ+ students to their parents, potentially before they are ready to share.
- Anti-LGBTQ+ Youth Policy Bills (S.234, H.3197, H.3485), which amount to an anti-LGBTQ+ “wish list” of limits on LGBTQ+ young people and their families, “prioritizing the rights of some parents over others. Some provisions of the bills would censor curriculum, block students’ freedom to learn, interfere with life-saving medical care.
- Broad Anti-Transgender Erasure Bill (S.276) which would require South Carolina to recognize a person’s sex at birth as their gender for the purpose of all state laws, which could restrict changing the driver’s license gender and applications for public programs.
- Curriculum Censorship Bills (H.3284, H.3304, H.3464, H.3466, S.246), which seek to censor curriculum that speaks about racial justice, LGBTQ+ identity and more.
Terry Livingston, with Grand Strand Pride, said his organization is partnering with other similar groups to monitor about a dozen bills. He urged citizens to go to SC United for Justice and Equality’s action page, where you can urge your lawmakers to reject all anti-LGBTQ+ bills in 2023.”
“We’ll have additional actions in the near future around specific bills, so be sure to follow Grand Strand PRIDE on Facebook and Twitter for our call-to-action alerts during this legislative session,” he urged.
Former statehouse candidate Ryan Thompson is following bills that he says, “once again… are targeting the transgender community and taking away bodily autonomy.” He also would like to see South Carolina pass a hate crime bill.
Livingston also is following hate crime legislation—three House bills and two Senate bills under consideration by the respective judiciary committees. “South Carolina is one of only two states in the United States that does not have any law on hate crimes,” he said. The proposed legislation would provide penalties for a person convicted of a crime with the intent to assault, intimidate, or threaten a person because of his race, religion, color, sex, age, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, and gender identity.
Domenico Ruggerio, executive director of We Are Family, said “It’s clear that anti-LGBTQ+ forces once again have their eyes set on South Carolina, and it’s painful to read this new slate of cruel legislation that would make life harder for transgender youth and all LGBTQ+ students.”