Equality Arizona
Equality Arizona Updates
What to Expect from Equality Arizona in 2023

What to Expect from Equality Arizona in 2023

Plus: a preview of the legislative session and some exciting new community partnerships

It’s a new year, and we’re trying out a new format for our weekly updates. Each Monday, we’ll share a little of what we have going on across each of the three areas of our work:

  1. Civic Advocacy

  2. Political Power

  3. Media & Events

With a new legislative session starting today, we want to make sure we provide the best information to help you stay up to date on policy issues that affect the LGBTQ+ community, and clear opportunities to use your voice to make a difference. We’ve also published a major update to our website, with some great new guides that we hope can be a resource to anyone interested in getting more involved as an advocate, voter, or civic leader.

Civic Advocacy

After an aggressive year for anti-LGBTQ+ policy, we're expecting 2023 to bring an escalation of those attacks. In 2022, reactionary lawmakers were able to pass bills excluding trans girls from school athletics and restricting access for gender-affirming care. This year, we’re already seeing more efforts to limit opportunities for trans and nonbinary students in schools, alongside new bills targeting LGBTQ+ culture and expression, including drag performances. However, there is hope for some pro-LGBTQ+ policies to find success this year, and we'll be tracking both categories here and on our website. Learn more about the major policy issues we’re taking on this session on our new Policy Guide.

Anti-LGBTQ+ Bills Already Filed

Senate Bill 1001

Summary: sponsored by Senator Kavanagh, SB 1001 makes it illegal for teachers and other school employees to respect the pronouns of a trans or non-binary student without written parental permission, and for students who do have parental consent, it prevents schools from requiring employees to use their correct pronouns.

Senate Bill 1005

Summary: sponsored by Senator Kavanagh, SB 1005 bars courts from awarding damages to a government entity when sued for a violation of the parental bill of rights, unless the case was brought without justification or for the purpose of harassment. In practice, teachers and schools may feel pressure to avoid perfectly legal ways of supporting the LGBTQ+ community out of fear that it may expose them to legal action.

Senate Bill 1026

Summary: sponsored by Senator Kavanagh, SB 1026 prohibits state money from being used for “drag shows targeting minors” which it defines to encompass a wide enough range of expression that a production of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night or a transgender math teacher performing a skit to explain the quadratic formula could be penalized under this law.

Senate Bill 1028

Summary: sponsored by Senator Kern, SB 1028 bans drag performances from public places or any other locations where drag “could be viewed by a minor.” Anyone charged under the law would face a misdemeanor, escalating to a felony after the first charge. Like all drag bans, the definition is drawn vaguely enough to criminalize a wider range of gendered experiences and expressions.

Senate Bill 1030

Summary: sponsored by Senator Kern, SB 1030 zones any business that hosts drag shows as an “adult oriented business,” and mandates permitting for drag shows and drag performers. SB 1030 uses the same definition of drag as SB 1026, which means it could be interpreted to require permits for any trans person participating in the performing arts.

Civic Advocacy Jam

1:00 pm - 2:30 pm January 21, 2023 | register

Looking for a way to make a difference? Join us on January 21 for another Civic Advocacy Jam! With the 2023 legislative session underway, now is the time to become an advocate for the communities you care about. At Equality Arizona, we know that civic advocacy means a lot more than reacting to flashpoints, so we’ll be using these twice-monthly jams to practice design thinking for policy. Bring your ideas, your frustrations, and a willingness to think creatively! We’ll be joined by Civic Engagement Beyond Voting for a training on how to use Request to Speak, the legislature’s online system for advocacy.

Political Power

Political Power Team Meeting organized by Equality Arizona

Political Power Team Meeting

6:30 pm - 8:00 pm January 12, 2023 | register

Join our Political Power volunteer team for our first meeting of 2023, at Cartel Roasting Co. in Tempe. We'll give an introduction to the responsibilities of the team and go over some important opportunities for political involvement in between major election cycles.

Media & Events

The Arizona Equals Conversation will return soon! If you’re interested in being interviewed for a storytelling podcast about what it means to be queer in Arizona, get in touch. You can listen to our full archive of stories on our website, or in any podcast app.

We also have two new exciting partnerships to announce for 2023! Each week, we’ll be contributing Eyes on the State, a legislative news update to LOOKOUT, a new queer-focused newsletter based in Phoenix. Check out their interview with Senator John Kavanagh to learn more about the sponsor of many of this year’s anti-LGBTQ+ bills.

In partnership with the Tempe Public Library, we’re hosting an event series for our new podcast Ask Smart People Smart Questions. Each month, join us in Tempe for a panel discussion with experts on everything from drag culture to criminal justice to voting rights and more. In between our live events, we’ll be publishing an additional monthly panel discussion to the podcast feed. In January, our topics will be Ranked Choice Voting and Drag Culture.

Grounds for Connection organized by Equality Arizona

Grounds for Connection

6:00 pm - 9:00 pm January 11, 2023 | register

Meet up with with Equality Arizona and our volunteer teams Wednesday nights at Brick Road Coffee for our weekly social hour / games night.

Location: Brick Road Coffee

Queer People Fit: Papago Park organized by Equality Arizona

Queer People Fit: Nature Walk

10:00 am - 11:30 am January 14, 2023 | register

Move with us to build the movement for equality! Join us for a nature walk through the Elliot Ramada Loop Trail at Papago Park on Saturday, January 14. The Queer People Fit series exists for LGBTQ+ people to come together to build community and to find a sense of belonging, and there’s no one right way to do that! So bring a puffy jacket or a pair of headphones and enjoy the winter air.

Location: Papago Park

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