Georgia lawmakers want to legalize hate crimes against queer and trans people

Being LGBTQ+ may mean being defenseless in the “Peach State” thanks to Republicans.

On Thursday, a new bill was introduced by Georgia Republicans that will leave many queer and state Georgia residents powerless against discrimination. Sponsored by (insert names), HB 1128 (also known as Georgia Women’s Bill of Rights) is aimed to amend Titles 1, 15, 17, 20, 40, 44, 49, and 50 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated.

The changes to these Titles are in relation to “courts, criminal procedure, education, motor vehicles and traffic, property, social services, and state government” in an effort to “provide for conforming changes; to provide for severability; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.”

So what do these amendments entail? While the HB 1128 is intended to “support” women through updated language, the bill specifically removes protections tied to gender and sexual orientation, leaving queer and trans people as targets of discrimination.

LGBTQ+ legislative researcher and activist Allison Chapman pointed out that the new bill takes out gender and sexual orientation as part of the amendment, seemingly leaving LGBTQ+ residents in Georgia unprotected from hate crimes.

Additionally, Chapman pointed out the bill would also make it increasingly difficult for transgender and nonbinary folks to update official documents, such as a driver’s license or a birth certificate.

HB 1128 also takes aim at transgender people participating in high school athletics according to their gender, pre-kindergarten programs, and the state government, to name a few. If this bill goes into effect, countless LGBTQ+ Georgia residents will be without legal protections from discrimination.

What’s being touted as a bill to support women is coded as a bill to harm the LGBTQ+ community, specifically trans people.

The introduction of this bill comes on the heels of Florida’s driver’s license update. In a memo released by Robert Kynoch, deputy executive director of the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, Florida will not allow transgender people to update their license to reflect their gender identity, superseding previous policies that allow trans folks to update their gender marker on their license. 

Now Georgia follows in Florida’s footsteps, making much harder to be LGBTQ+ in the state. Check out Georgia’s entire HB 1128 bill here.

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