CNN  — 

Thirty-three states have introduced more than 100 bills that aim to curb the rights of transgender people across the country, with advocacy groups calling 2021 a record-breaking year for such legislation.  Many of these bills are rapidly making their way through state legislatures. On April 6, Arkansas became the first state to outlaw providing gender-affirming treatment to minors, a move that the American Civil Liberties Union said would “send a terrible and heartbreaking message” to transgender youth across the country.

According to data from the Human Rights Campaign, one of the nation’s largest LGBTQ advocacy groups, at least 117 bills have been introduced in the current legislative session that target the transgender community. It’s the highest number the organization has recorded since it began tracking anti-LGBTQ legislation more than 15 years ago.

The majority of bills would affect transgender youth, a group that researchers and medical professionals warn is already susceptible to high rates of suicide and depression.  

Here’s where these bills have been introduced, and the restrictions they seek to impose: 

Bans on participation in same-gender youth sports

Thirty-one states have introduced bills that ban transgender athletes from participating in sports consistent with their gender identities. Three states – Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee – have already signed these bills into law this year. A similar 2020 law in Idaho was swiftly struck down in federal court.

In many states, lawmakers introducing these bills are supported by conservative legal groups, such as the Alliance Defending Freedom, which reportedly helped craft the Idaho law that was later struck down in court, according to the Idaho Press. The group released a statement praising Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson. The Arkansas bill, named the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act,” would prevent transgender girls and women from participating in school, intramural or club sports with their same-gender peers.

“I think that these exclusionary responses are a solution in search of a problem,” said Melanie Willingham-Jaggers, interim director of GLSEN, an LGBTQ youth advocacy organization.

“There is no categorical dominance by trans athletes, but we do understand the categorical benefits for young people who play sports,” she told CNN.

Lawmakers have said these bills are intended to be proactive, and to remove what they claim is an unfair advantage that transgender girls may have over their teammates. But such examples are extremely rare. In March, The Associated Press called two dozen state legislators who sponsored these bans, and found that few could name any cases where the participation of transgender athletes in youth sports had become a source of contention within the teams. 

A version of the ban made its way to South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem’s desk in March, but Noem seemed to surprise both the LGBTQ community and conservative groups by vetoing the bill, calling it “overly broad.” She sent it back to the legislature with changes that, among other things, intended to spare the state from potential economic blowback, but the bill later died in the legislative chambers.

However, days after her veto and amid intense criticism from conservative groups, Noem signed two executive orders on March 29 that would ban transgender girls and women from competing in women’s sports at public high schools and colleges. But that move also prompted criticism from conservatives, who claim the executive orders are unenforceable.

Advocates hope that potential economic and political consequences could deter governors from enacting this year’s wave of legislation. In 2016, North Carolina passed its so-called “bathroom bill,” which meant that people at government-run facilities must use bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond to the sexes on their birth certificates. In practice, the law meant that many transgender and nonbinary people were unable to use restrooms in government buildings and felt unsafe to do so elsewhere in public. The bill’s passage led to public outcry followed by business boycotts, and was repealed the next year.

Bans on gender-affirming health care for minors

Twenty states have introduced bills that prohibit or impede the administration of gender-affirming therapy to minors. One bill recently introduced in Alabama would make it a felony for medical providers to provide transition-related care to transgender minors.