State lawmakers have introduced a record number of anti-transgender bills in 2021.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest LGBT rights advocate, announced over the weekend that 82 such bills have been introduced this year. Seventy-nine anti-transgender bills were introduced last year.
"In a year that has taken a toll on each and every one of us, it is shocking that anti-equality extremists in state legislatures across this country have dedicated an unprecedented amount of time and energy to attacking the LGBTQ community and particularly LGBTQ youth," HRC President Alphonso David said in a statement. "The furious pace of these bills shows that hateful anti-equality groups across the country and extremist legislators alike realize that equality is gaining momentum. This is their shameful attempt to throw a wrench into the progress we have steadily made in the fight for equality."
"Today's milestone serves as a reminder of the intensity of our opposition and just how hard we must continue to work to overcome discrimination and exclusion. Progress in the fight for equality has always come in fits and starts but nevertheless marches forward. We know we are on the right side of history," he said.
The news comes just days after Mississippi became the first state in the nation to pass anti-transgender legislation in 2021.
(Related: MS Governor Tate Reeves signs bill banning transgender athletes from women's sports
HRC said that the bills were solutions looking for problems.
"These bills are not addressing any real problem, and they're not being requested by constituents," the group said. "Rather, this effort is being driven by national far-right organizations attempting to score political points by sowing fear and hate."
"What they don't understand is opposing equality is highly unpopular – even among Trump voters – and states that pass legislation that attacks our community will face severe economic, legal, and reputational harm. In many cases, these legislative pushes are being prioritized above COVID-19 response and relief. This push comes as equality measures gain not only popular support but legislative momentum on the federal level, with the Biden Administration championing equality in early Executive Actions and Congress considering the Equality Act within the first 100 days of the new Administration," the organization said, referring to the LGBT protections bill that cleared the House last month.
South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, a Republican, has already said that she will sign an anti-transgender bill approved by lawmakers.
(Related: SD Governor Kristi Noem says she's "excited" to sign bill banning transgender women in sports