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Human Rights Campaign declares "state of emergency" for LGBTQ+ Americans

For the first time in its more than 40-year history, the Human Rights Campaign on Tuesday declared a "state of emergency" for LGBTQ+ Americans, issuing a guidebook alongside the national warning to help ensure safety for both LGBTQ+ residents and travelers alike. The news comes as LGBTQ+ Americans across the country begin to celebrate Pride Month.

The LGBTQ+ civil rights organization cited "an unprecedented and dangerous spike in anti-LGBTQ+ legislative assaults sweeping state houses this year" in issuing the warning. This year alone, more than 75 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been passed in the U.S. during the current legislative season — more than double the 2022 number, the organization said.

"LGBTQ+ Americans are living in a state of emergency," said the HRC's president, Kelley Robinson. "The multiplying threats facing millions in our community are not just perceived — they are real, tangible and dangerous."

"As we kick off LGBTQ+ Pride Month, HRC will be working tirelessly to educate and arm the LGBTQ+ community with information and resources to ensure their safety — whether they're planning summer travel through regions that are becoming increasingly hostile to LGBTQ+ people, or whether they already live in a state where legislative assaults and political extremism are continuing to put a target on our backs," the organization said in a statement. 

In the last year, more than 525 anti-LGBTQ+ bills were introduced in 41 U.S. states, creating what the HRC has called an  "increasingly hostile and dangerous" environment for LGBTQ+ people. Of the proposed bills, 220 specifically targeted transgender Americans.

The guidebook, which is available for download online, includes health and safety information, summaries of state-specific laws targeting LGBTQ+ Americans, "know your rights" information and additional resources that are "designed to support LGBTQ+ travelers as well as those already living in hostile states."

"We'll fight tooth and nail to ensure the safety and dignity of every LGBTQ+ person is respected and protected — without exception," said Robinson.

Just last month, the HRC issued a travel advisory for LGBTQ+ Americans in the state of Florida, where Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis recently expanded the state's controversial "Don't Say Gay" legislation. The advisory came a day after the NAACP issued its own warning because the state "has become hostile to Black Americans." 

"Florida stands at the forefront of the fight against these oppressive laws now proliferating throughout the nation," Nadine Smith, the CEO of Equality Florida, an LGBTQ+ advocacy organization in the state, said in the HRC statement. "It is heartbreaking to witness families uproot themselves in search of access to healthcare and inclusive classrooms, free from book bans and censorship."

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