Under Fire: New MAP Report Details Eight Tactics that Attempt to Erase LGBTQ People from Schools and Public Life

March 23, 2023 - A report released today by the Movement Advancement Project (MAP) outlines how a series of coordinated political attacks is designed to erase LGBTQ people from schools and public life. The report is the second in a new MAP series, Under Fire: The War on LGBTQ People in America.

So far this year, 45 states have introduced a collective total of at least 580 anti-LGBTQ bills, surpassing the previous record. There have been more than 160 anti-LGBTQ school-specific bills introduced in the first two months of 2023.

This latest MAP report focuses specifically on ways anti-LGBTQ activists are working to completely erase LGBTQ people, and especially LGBTQ youth, from public life. In school settings their tactics include making it illegal to talk about LGBTQ people or support LGBTQ students, banning books that mention LGBTQ issues, preventing transgender youth from playing sports with their friends, and more. Efforts to limit visibility and acceptance of LGBTQ people more broadly include banning books at public libraries and bans on drag performances.

"If you look across everything they are doing, it becomes clear that their goal is to force LGBTQ people out of public life. If LGBTQ youth are unmentionable in school, if government cannot collect survey information about LGBTQ people's lives, and if transgender youth must be called by their old names and pronouns, it will be as if LGBTQ people no longer exist," said Naomi Goldberg, Deputy Director and LGBTQ Policy Director at MAP.

MAP identified eight specific tactics designed to erase LGBTQ people:

Tactic #1: Censoring discussions of LGBTQ people through so-called "Don't Say Gay or Trans" curriculum bans & banning books that address LGBTQ issues.

Tactic #2: Enacting school policies that prevent transgender youth from being themselves and deny them access to school spaces & activities.

Tactic #3: Removing anti-bullying and harassment protections for LGBTQ students.

Tactic #4: Outlawing and criminalizing supportive school environments, including firing or suing teachers.

Tactic #5: Rewarding & protecting anti-LGBTQ teachers.

Tactic #6: Pulling out of longstanding school survey efforts.

Tactic #7: Purging public libraries.

Tactic #8: Regulating drag shows.

"An overwhelming majority of Americans consistently support LGBTQ equality but aren't yet aware of the scope and scale of how that equality is being swiftly eroded. There is a war against LGBTQ people in America-and the ability of LGBTQ people to openly exist is under serious fire," said Ineke Mushovic, Executive Director of MAP.

About the Series - Under Fire: The War on LGBTQ People in America

A new series of reports from MAP makes clear that, despite significant policy advances for LGBTQ equality over the last decade, LGBTQ people are facing an unprecedented firestorm of attacks on all fronts.

While public attention often lands on a particular type of anti-LGBTQ legislation or handful of hostile states, the series outlines the ways that opponents of LGBTQ equality are working systematically across the country-in legislatures, schools, and in the media- to erase LGBTQ people from society.

Last year saw a record number of anti-LGBTQ bills (315 bills) introduced in state legislatures, and 2023 has already far exceeded that number. According to MAP's internal tracking, the number of anti-LGBTQ bills introduced in the first months of 2023 is more than the anti-LGBTQ bills introduced in all of 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 combined.

About MAP: MAP's mission is to provide independent and rigorous research, insight and communications that help speed equality and opportunity for all. MAP works to ensure that all people have a fair chance to pursue health and happiness, earn a living, take care of the ones they love, be safe in their communities, and participate in civic life. www.mapresearch.org

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