Monday, February 21, 2022

15 other 'Don't Say Gay'-type bills popping up around the nation as backlash may be growing against them

 It looks like Florida isn't the only state pushing a 'Don't Say Gay' bill. According to a recent article in The Hill, there are 15 other bills popping up around the nation:

Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill is just one part of a nationwide trend. There are 15 similar bills moving through state legislatures that restrict how textbooks and curriculums teach LGBTQ+ topics, who can be hired and what teachers are allowed to say when it comes to gender identity and sexual orientation.

 A House bill in Tennessee would ban textbook and instructional materials that “promote, normalize, support, or address lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) lifestyles” in K-12 schools. Another, in Kansas, seeks to amend the state’s obscenity law to make using classroom materials depicting “homosexuality” a Class B misdemeanor. Legislators in Indiana are working to bar educators from discussing in any context “sexual orientation,” “transgenderism” or “gender identity” without permission from parents.

. . . Oklahoma legislators have put five measures before its Congress that regulate how schools from K-12 to higher education teach LGBTQ+ issues. Two bills, SB 1142 and SB 1654, would prohibit librarians and teachers from distributing materials on or outright discussing “any form of non-procreative sex,” gender identity and “lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender issues.” 

 Another Oklahoma Senate bill would ban public schools from employing anyone who “promotes positions in the classroom or at any function of the public school that is in opposition to closely held religious beliefs of students.” And SB 1141 would bar requiring public university courses on “gender, sexual, or racial diversity, equality, or inclusion,” supplementing an already-passed House bill that is currently part of a federal lawsuit brought by the ACLU.

While supporters of these bills claim they are trying to protect children and give parents more power, a slow but steady backlash is arising.  LGBTQ parents, kids, and allies are coming out to speak against and protest the Florida bill. And as the bill works it way through the legislature, that number is growing.  President Biden and Colorado Governor Jared Polis, who is openly gay, have publicly denounced the Florida bill and other anti-LGBTQ legislation. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and his husband Chasten have also criticized Florida's bill, saying that it will harm LGBTQ kids. 

Lastly, in a bizarre move,  the co-sponsor of the Florida bill recently added an amendment requiring schools to out LGBTQ students to their parents even if the outing could potentially lead to violence or neglect against the child. 

To say that this hasn't help the bill's popularity would be an extreme understatement.