Mar 14, 2024 - Politics

School hate crimes linked to restrictive LGTBQ laws

Illustration of a transgender pride flag drawn in crayons.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

School hate crimes targeting LGBTQ people have sharply risen in states that enacted laws restricting queer student rights and education in recent years, according to a Washington Post analysis of FBI data.

Why it matters: Policy sets the tone for real-world experiences and can create hostile environments, the Post reports.

Catch up fast: GOP lawmakers nationwide and in Iowa filed a record number of bills targeting the LGBTQ community over the last three years.

  • Longtime fears about gay people, concerns about parents' rights and multi million-dollar lobbying fueled by conservative groups were among the contributing factors.

By the numbers: On average, states that enacted laws restricting LGBTQ rights had four times more hate crimes per year in elementary, middle and high schools between 2021-2022 compared with 2015-2019, per the Post.

  • There was an average of 232 anti-LGBTQ hate crimes at colleges and K-12 schools in 2021 and 2022, more than twice the number reported between 2015 and 2019.

Behind the scenes: Groups that help LGBTQ youth in crisis are also reporting an increase in calls for assistance, the Post reports.

  • There were more than 1,400 reports of bullying in Iowa's public schools during the most recently completed school year — up more than 200 compared with the 2021-2022 year, according to state data.

The latest: Almost all the bills restricting LGBTQ rights this year are expected to die during a legislative deadline this week, Reyes said.

  • Around 500 anti-LGBTQ bills have been introduced nationally this year and Iowa has 34, among the most out of all states, according to a report by the ACLU.

Yes, but: A "religious freedom" bill could soon be signed by the governor.

  • Critics say it would give legal cover to discriminate, especially against minority religions and LGBTQ people, the Cedar Rapids Gazette reports.

The other side: The "statistical rise in ugly behavior" is the basic math of more students identifying as LGBTQ and more people arguing about related issues, the Family Leader, an Iowa Evangelical organization, tells Axios.

  • The group says it condemns incivility from both sides.
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