North Carolina Republican Lawmakers Introduce ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill
Author: Alex Cooper
North Carolina’s state senators have introduced a version of a “don’t say gay” bill, following several other GOP-led states. The legislation, which is currently going through Senate committees, would prohibit teaching students about gender or sexuality during early elementary school.
It could also require school employees to out LGBTQ+ students in any grade level, according to Raleigh’s The News & Observer.
LGBTQ+ advocates and other critics of the bill, HB755, have called it anti-LGBTQ, but Republican lawmakers say they are supporting parents, not being discriminatory.
“It has no place in the K-3 curriculum,” state Sen. Deanna Ballard, the bill’s lead sponsor, told the paper.
North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper may veto the bill.
He said that lawmakers shouldn’t bring “the ‘don’t say gay’ culture wars” into the state’s classrooms, according to The Associated Press.
“Schools are grateful for involved parents and we need even more of them working together with teachers to educate our children,” Cooper said in a statement. “However, the last thing our state needs is another Republican political ploy like the bathroom bill which hurt our people and cost us jobs.”
Aside from the ban on teaching LGBTQ+ topics in class, Tuesday’s legislation would also force school employees, like guidance counselors or teachers, to inform a student’s parents if the student comes out to them if the parents asked. It would also require schools to notify if a student’s name or pronouns are changed in official school records.
The bill also grants parents more access to textbooks, curricula, and other aspects of their student’s education. If schools do not provide such access, parents would be able to sue the school.
Senate leader Phil Berger told the AP that the bill differs from Florida’s “don’t say gay” law because it related only to curricula.
Some North Carolina teachers have taken issue with the bill.
“Unfortunately, there are many households where children are not safe coming out. Forcibly making children come out in environments that are hostile will absolutely put their lives at risk,” Taylor Cordes, a North Carolina teacher, told local TV station WRAL.
LGBTQ+ rights group Equality NC condemned the bill.
“We are outraged that this bill continues to progress through the General Assembly. We are disappointed in the NC GOP’s lack of transparency, and fast-tracking of such a harmful piece of legislation. House Bill 755 is an attack on LGBTQ+ youth, educators, and parents,” the organization’s executive director, Kendra Johnson, said in a release. “We know that forced outing and erasure in the curriculum have severe impacts on queer and trans young people’s safety, mental health and well-being, especially poor youth, and youth of color.”
Original Article on The Advocate
Author: Alex Cooper