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A central theme of anti-LGBTQ organizing and ideology is the opposition to LGBTQ rights or support of homophobia, heterosexism and/or cisnormativity often expressed through demonizing rhetoric and grounded in harmful pseudoscience that portrays LGBTQ people as threats to children, society and often public health.


In 2023, the number of anti-LGBTQ hate groups listed by SPLC increased by about one-third, to 86. This is the highest number of anti-LGBTQ groups SPLC has ever listed. The increase is largely the result of the activities by groups often described as “family policy councils,” which operate at the state level in ways that mimic the national organizations Family Research Council and Alliance Defending Freedom, and by a network of groups that came into focus as part of the survey of anti-LGBTQ pseudoscience conducted for the SPLC’s CAPTAIN report. Following on the anti-LGBTQ movement’s successes in 2022, anti-LGBTQ groups continued peddling legislation and litigation challenging conversion therapy bans and banning gender-affirming health care for minors in 22 states. Nineteen bills were enacted in 2023.

As in previous years, the anti-LGBTQ policy push was grounded in demonizing LGBTQ people and using pseudoscientific claims about LGBTQ people, but the weaponization of pseudoscience as a tool of trans suppression and the targeting of fundamental freedoms like free speech, expression, and assembly through book and drag bans has become a more prominent feature in recent years. In 2023, hate groups across the board continued to opportunistically target LGBTQ people and spaces, many times employing violent suppression and intimidation tactics fueled by far-right social media disinformation and conspiracy campaigns that falsely claim LGBTQ people are a threat to society and to “parents’ rights.”


In January, representatives from several anti-LGBTQ groups gathered in Washington, D.C., to attend the International Religious Freedom Summit intended to bring diverse religious viewpoints together an hosted by the Lantos Foundation. The summit, which featured speakers who advocate draconian anti-LGBTQ and anti-abortion policies alongside international dignitaries and foreign affairs professionals from the Biden administration, represents an ongoing strategy by the anti-LGBTQ movement to legitimize its extremist ideology and establish a restrictive heterosexist and cisnormative definition of “religious freedom” in domestic and international law. The effects of this pursuit are twofold. First, anti-LGBTQ groups perpetuate the false notion that LGBTQ people cannot also be religious. Second, practically, anti-LGBTQ groups advocate for a right to discriminate against LGBTQ people and people who do not hold ultra-conservative Christian beliefs under the guise of “religious freedom.”

A “family values” conference was held in New York in late 2023. The Transatlantic Summit, held by the Hungarian group Political Network for Values on Nov. 16, 2023, featured representatives of antigovernment extremist organization Moms for Liberty, anti-LGBTQ hate groups the Center for Family and Human Rights (C-FAM), Family Watch International (FWI), and Alliance Defending Freedom.

The “religious freedom” framework was commonly deployed by U.S. anti-LGBTQ hate groups throughout 2023 to claim, for example, that schools which implement LGBTQ-inclusive education policies (like affirmative pronoun policies, trans-inclusive sports, or just having library books with LGBTQ characters) violate conservative Christian parents’ rights. By this logic, and with the help of far-right conspiratorial rhetoric attacking schools and teachers as “groomers” and “indoctrinating children,” anti-LGBTQ hate groups argue that conservative Christian parents should be able to set a ceiling for what all students can learn.

In 2023, schools, libraries, churches, public parks, and children’s hospitals were again targeted by the far right and by anti-LGBTQ hate groups for harassment and intimidation campaigns – and by violent attacks like firebombing and arson. The far right extended its focus to private businesses that host LGBTQ-inclusive events (like drag performances), but also to large, multinational corporations with LGBTQ-inclusive advertising policies. In the months before June, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security warned of the potential for violence targeting LGBTQ people and their allies; and, in late 2023, the FBI announced a sharp increase in gender identity-related hate crimes in 2022.

In 2023, the SPLC tracked about 200 anti-drag events which attempted to intimidate and end a children’s literacy program known as drag story hour. These events were led or attended by multiple white nationalist, neo-Nazi, antisemitic, antigovernment and anti-LGBTQ groups. Throughout Pride month (June), local businesses and Pride celebrations were targeted by many of these groups who protested, but also violently confronted LGBTQ people and their allies, while far-right social media personalities like Matt Walsh led campaigns to “make Pride toxic.”

In April 2023, the Heritage Foundation published its “Mandate for Leadership,” a 900-page handbook that lays out the implementation strategy of its presidential transition plan known as “Project 2025.” The project represents a dramatic reshaping of the federal government by recruiting and vetting conservative ideologues for positions in a hypothetical 2025 Republican presidential administration. It also represents a dramatic confirmation of the anti-science and anti-LGBTQ focus of the contributors to the plan. Namely, on page 1 of the Mandate for Leadership, Kevin Roberts of the Heritage Foundation claims that “children suffer the toxic normalization of transgenderism with drag queens and pornography invading their school libraries.” By page 5, Roberts claims, “pornography” is “manifested today in the omnipresent propagation of transgender ideology and sexualization of children” and argues that such manifestations be outlawed. Roberts also argues that “the people who produce and distribute [such materials] should be imprisoned. Educators and public librarians who purvey it should be classed as registered sex offenders. And telecommunications and technology firms that facilitate its spread should be shuttered.”

In September 2023, FRC’s annual Pray Vote Stand Summit, formerly known as Values Voters, was rife with transphobia centering unaccepting parents and anti-trans advocates and featured speeches by nearly every 2024 Republican presidential contender. Riley Gaines, who gained popularity for criticizing the NCAA after tying for fifth place alongside trans athlete Lia Thomas in a race at the 2022 national championships, retold her dramatized version swimming alongside Thomas, misgendering her and unabashedly talking about Thomas’ private parts. At the conference, Gaines couched her transphobic message in religious rhetoric common among anti-LGBTQ groups like FRC. Gaines has spoken at several universities and given testimony calling for trans athletes to be banned from sports. She said, “It’s entirely spiritual warfare,” about her fight to ban trans athletes from sports. “It really is no longer a battle of right versus wrong or good versus bad. It’s moral versus evil,” she said.

In a panel discussion on detransitioning, FRC president Tony Perkins referred to the acceptance and inclusion of trans youth by society by claiming there is a “battle raging over our nation and children are the target.” This panel included Amy Atterberry, who shared the story of her trans child who transitioned against Atterberry’s wishes. Atterberry’s experience – centering the parent’s rejection of their trans child as opposed to the oppression and anguish of the trans child – was a common theme at Pray Vote Stand and in anti-LGBTQ+ narrative manipulation strategies in 2023. In October and November, anti-LGBTQ groups convened for two conferences focused on undermining the gender-affirming health care model internationally. The conferences were sponsored by the Idaho-based Society for Evidence-Based Gender Medicine (SEGM) and Genspect – key hubs of anti-LGBTQ+ pseudoscience identified in the SPLC’s CAPTAIN report. SEGM’s New York meeting, held Oct. 10-11, 2023, featured appearances by some researchers employed as “expert witnesses” by the anti-LGBTQ hate group Alliance Defending Freedom. Some of these “expert witnesses” have been key to crafting anti-trans legal narratives. Genspect’s Denver meeting, held Nov. 4-5, 2023, featured many of the same participants, but included members of more anti-LGBTQ+ groups including Do No Harm and Child & Parental Rights Campaign as well as notable voices of the far right including James Lindsay. Both conferences represent an attempt by the groups to position themselves as legitimate alternatives to the World Professional Organization for Transgender Health (WPATH) – which represents the global consensus around the benefits of gender-affirming health care – despite their anti-LGBTQ+ extremism.  

Anti-Trans Ideology in Focus

In December 2023, the SPLC released the CAPTAIN report, which details the divisions of labor within the contemporary anti-LGBTQ movement (especially as it relates to the spread of anti-LGBTQ disinformation in the form of pseudoscience) including the primary narratives, tactics and funding of the network. Namely, there is an emerging network of research groups that purport to offer evidence challenging transgender identity and the efficacy of gender-affirming health care; an abundance of narrative manipulation groups that use various themes – including so-called parents’ rights, religious liberty and “protecting children” – to frame their rhetorical attacks on LGBTQ people (these rhetorical attacks have been translated into violent physical confrontations through other hate groups); and an established foundation of right-wing think tanks and conservative Christian legal advocacy groups that attempt to encode anti- LGBTQ ideology into law and conservative Republican orthodoxy.

The anti-transgender ideology communicated by many of the groups we monitored in 2023 is grounded in many of the tenets of anti-LGBTQ ideology, but shows a pronounced connection to 1) rhetoric common within the eugenics movement by which anti-trans groups argue both that gender-affirming care is a form of eugenics (cutting off healthy body parts and sterilizing children are common refrains) and that trans people should be eliminated from society; and, 2) a motivation best described as a corollary to the “great replacement” conspiracy – which suggests transgender people and a shadowy industry of medical and education professionals are replacing (or “transing”) white heterosexual cisgender Christian children. So pervasive is this theory that it is even espoused by several self-described LGBTQ groups (namely, Gays Against Groomers) to falsely claim gay and lesbian kids are being replaced or “transed” against their will by gender-affirming health care and LGBTQ-inclusive educational curricula.


The cycle of anti-LGBTQ extremism will continue. Right-wing politicians continue to spread disinformation, which is echoed across mainstream media channels, publications and by right-wing social media accounts and then used by anti-LGBTQ politicians to enact harmful legislation that fuels violence against LGBTQ people. As in 2022 and 2023, censoring or eliminating inclusive education, sex education and LGBTQ representation in schools and libraries will continue to be a focus of the anti-LGBTQ movement. Some groups have begun targeting private corporations – forcing companies to suspend or withdraw diversity, equity and inclusion policies, for example – while other groups will continue their fight to use pseudoscience and anti-abortion legal decisions, like Dobbs, to roll back LGBTQ rights, including marriage equality, in 2024. The targeting of transgender, nonbinary and gender-nonconforming youth is not new, but the all-out mischaracterization of gender-affirming care on a state level and criminalization of it as child abuse are extreme escalations and, thanks to CAPTAIN, exposed as part of a manufactured political strategy of the anti-LGBTQ movement. Still, Project 2025, especially, represents an overt call to criminalize LGBTQ identity – by conflating transgender identity with “gender ideology” and labeling it all “pornography” that is subject to legal restriction. U.S.-based anti-LGBTQ hate groups have a long history of attempting to influence foreign laws to criminalize LGBTQ people, and that focus will likely reemerge domestically.

In 2023, courts began to push back against restrictive laws targeting gender-affirming care, curriculum censorship and drag bans; however, given the strong evidence from the CAPTAIN report that anti- LGBTQ groups are working to merge anti-LGBTQ pseudoscience with conservative political orthodoxy, issues like gender-affirming care, but also the existence of transgender people, will likely become political fodder for far-right campaigners in the 2024 presidential election season.


Anti-LGBTQ groups in the United States oppose LGBTQ rights but also generally support heterosexism, an ideology that assumes heterosexuality is the only “normal” sexuality, and/or cisnormativity, an ideology that assumes one’s gender identity always matches the sex one was assigned at birth. Anti-LGBTQ groups primarily consist of Christian Right groups but also include such organizations as the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) that purport to be scientific. Anti-LGBTQ groups in America have employed a variety of strategies in their efforts to oppose LGBTQ rights or support heterosexism and/or cisnormativity, including engaging in the crudest type of name-calling.

Anti-LGBTQ groups on the SPLC hate list often link being LGBTQ inherently to criminal behavior; claim that the concept of marriage equality and LGBTQ people in general are dangers to children and families; contend that being LGBTQ itself is dangerous and support the criminalization of LGBTQ people and transgender identity. These groups also believe in a false conspiracy that LGBTQ people seek to destroy Christianity and the whole of society. More recently, hard-line anti-LGBTQ groups have promoted their discriminatory laws and policies that limit the rights of LGBTQ people under the guise of religion, blurring the lines between the separation of church and state and discarding anti-discrimination civil rights policies.

Many leaders and spokespeople of SPLC-designated anti-LGBTQ groups have used degrading and derogatory language to describe LGBTQ people. Others disseminate disparaging information about LGBTQ people that are simply untrue – an approach no different from how white supremacists and nativist extremists propagate lies about African American people and immigrants to make these communities seem like a danger to society. Viewing LGBTQ people as unbiblical or simply opposing marriage equality does not qualify an organization to be listed as an anti-LGBTQ hate group.

Outline map of US states with number of anti-LGBTQ groups


View all groups by state and by ideology. 

* - Asterisk denotes headquarters.

Abiding Word Baptist Church, Revival Baptist Church
Jacksonville, Florida

Advocates Protecting Children
Arlington, Virginia

Alliance Defending Freedom
Scottsdale, Arizona

American College of Pediatricians
Gainesville, Florida

American Family Association
Indianapolis, Indiana
Tupelo, Mississippi *
Franklin, Pennsylvania

American Vision
Powder Springs, Georgia

Americans for Truth About Homosexuality
Columbus, Ohio

ATLAH Media Network
New York, New York

California Family Council
Fresno, California

The Campus Ministry USA
Terre Haute, Indiana

Center for Christian Virtue
Columbus, Ohio

Center for Family and Human Rights (C-FAM)
New York, New York

Chalcedon Foundation
Vallecito, California

Child and Parent Rights Campaign
Duluth, Georgia

Church Militant/St. Michael’s Media
Ferndale, Michigan

Concerned Christian Citizens
Temple, Texas

James Kennedy Ministries
Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Do No Harm
Glen Allen, Virginia

North Royalton, Ohio

Faithful Word Baptist Church
Tempe, Arizona*
Tucson, Arizona

Family Action Council of Tennessee
Franklin, Tennessee

The Family Foundation of Virginia
Richmond, Virginia

Family Research Council
Washington, District of Columbia

Family Research Institute
Colorado Springs, Colorado

Family Watch International
Gilbert, Arizona

First Works Baptist Church
Anaheim, California

Florida Family Policy Council
Orlando, Florida

Frontline Policy Council
Atlanta, Georgia

Gays Against Groomers
Monroe, North Carolina
Milwaukee, Wisconsin*

Elizabeth, Colorado

Palm Springs, California 

Heterosexuals Organized for a Moral Environment (H.O.M.E.)
Downers Grove, Illinois

Illinois Family Institute
Tinley Park, Illinois

Liberty Baptist Church
Rock Falls, Illinois

Liberty Counsel
Orlando, Florida

Louisiana Family Forum
Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Mass Resistance
Torrance, California
Pocatello, Idaho
Idaho (statewide)
Lake in the Hills, Illinois
Waltham, Massachusetts*
Branson, Missouri
Kenosha, Wisconsin
Gillette, Wyoming

Massachusetts Family Institute
Wakefield, Massachusetts

Mission: America
Columbus, Ohio

Montana Family Foundation
Laurel, Montana

Pacific Justice Institute
Sacramento, California
Miami, Florida
Reno, Nevada
Salem, Oregon
Seattle, Washington
Santa Ana, California

Partners for Ethical Care
Chicago, Illinois

Pass the Salt Ministries
Hebron, Ohio

Pennsylvania Family Institute
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Pilgrims Covenant Church
Monroe, Wisconsin

The Pray in Jesus Name Project
Colorado Springs, Colorado

Probe Ministries
Plano, Texas

Public Advocate of the United States
Merrifield, Virginia

Revival Baptist Church
Clermont, Florida

Ruth Institute
Lake Charles, Louisiana

Save California
Sacramento, California

Scott Lively Ministries
Springfield, Massachusetts

Society for Evidence-Based Gender Medicine
Twin Falls, Idaho

Stedfast Baptist Church
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Cedar Hill, Texas*

Strong Hold Baptist Church
Norcross, Georgia

Sure Foundation Baptist Church
Seattle, Washington
Spokane Valley, Washington
Vancouver, Washington*

Tom Brown Ministries
El Paso, Texas

True Light Pentecost Church
Spartanburg, South Carolina

United Families International
Gilbert, Arizona

Verity Baptist Church
Sacramento, California

Warriors for Christ
Mount Juliet, Tennessee

Westboro Baptist Church
Topeka, Kansas

World Congress of Families/International Organization for the Family
Rockford, Illinois