Respect Equality

Among national flood of anti-trans bills, Nevada lawmakers pass LGBTQ+ affirming legislation

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Story at a glance

  • Across the country, several states have passed or proposed anti-transgender legislation targeting LGBTQ+ youth.
  • In Nevada, state lawmakers are considering two bills supported by many in the LGBTQ+ community.
  • If passed, the legislation would decriminalize HIV transmission and require schools to teach the “history and contributions” of LGBTQ+ people.

Amid the recent flood of transphobic legislation from state legislatures across the country, Nevada lawmakers have sent two LGBTQ+ affirming bills to Gov. Steve Sisolak (D). 

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SB275, which decriminalized the transmission of HIV, passed the Senate unanimously and with a considerable margin in the House. The law would lessen the penalty for knowingly transmitting HIV from a class B felony and punishable by a fine of $10,000 or up to two years imprisonment to a warning on the first offense and a misdemeanor charge on the second violation, the same as other such communicable diseases.

“We recognize that not only have these laws not worked to protect people from the transmission of HIV,” said Samuel Garrett-Pate, communications director for Silver State Equality, in a statement to the Nevada Independent. “They’ve actually been counterproductive … They actually discourage testing. They discourage people from learning their status. They discourage people from disclosing their status.”

Similar legislation has been proposed before, but only gained widespread support more recently as voters’ stances evolved. Last year, Nevada became the first state to recognize gay marriage in its constitution after having passed a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in 2002 that was ruled unconstitutional by federal courts. 

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The second bill, AB261, requires public schools to teach “the history and contributions” of several historically marginalized groups, including the LGBTQ+ community, people with disabilities and immigrants. Only 15 percent of LGBTQ+ students were provided with positive representations of LGBTQ+ people or history in instruction, according to a 2019 survey by GLSEN, and, ahead of Pride Month, advocates lauded the bill. 

“This year, we’ve seen record numbers of harmful anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced across the country. But Nevada’s new law offers a powerful contrast and shows us that a better way is not only possible, but already in motion,” GLSEN interim Executive Director Melanie Willingham-Jaggers told the American Independent. “I hope that lawmakers and school leaders across the country follow Nevada’s lead and take swift action to invest in LGBTQ+ students’ well-being.”

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ARKANSAS AND SOUTH DAKOTA PASS LBGTQ BANS THAT TARGET TRANSGENDER MINORS

TRANSGENDER STUDENT WINS $300K FROM SCHOOL IN DISCRIMINATION CASE

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MISSISSIPPI BANS TRANSGENDER ATHLETES FROM COMPETING ON GIRLS’ OR WOMEN’S SPORTS TEAMS

SPORTS SAVED MY LIFE. TRANSGENDER ATHLETES SHOULD BE ABLE TO HAVE THAT EXPERIENCE TOO