Bills addressing LGBTQ issues in the classroom advance to Senate floor
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The noise about LGBTQ issues in schools appears to only be getting louder each year with new bills taking aim to address them one way or another.
This year one of those bills prohibits teachers from using a student’s preferred pronouns that differ from their birth certificate. With a few wondering if this even occurs in our classrooms, some who testified shared examples other parents wrote in.
“Our daughter told us she was trans, the high school she attends told us the district’s policy requires them to follow her lead on her new identity. It’s suddenly all that matters to her, she becomes verbally combative if we try to talk to her about any of it,” said Katie Alexander with Louisiana Citizen Advocacy group.
However, students within the LGBTQ community who showed up today, some alongside their parents, said in many cases the classroom is the only place they feel safe to express who they are without being rejected or abused.
“At the end of the day our job is to take these kids seriously, earn their trust, and give them the help they need to become successful adults,” said trans advocate Sarah Allen.
“During my homecoming court ceremony where I was in the running to become homecoming queen, they would have not called me Aria,” added Aria Williams, a trans student.
But some argue banning pronoun preferences in classrooms would put more control in the parents’ hands. An argument swaying enough lawmakers to gain favorable votes from the panel. However, just last week, a bill to prohibit gender affirming care for minors, like puberty blockers and surgeries, was killed in a Senate committee after Republican Senator Fred Mills gave a tie breaking vote, so where’s the disconnect?
“It’s disappointing, you know a lot of people use that Republican tag to get elected and then don’t vote that way. So, it’s disappointing and a lot of people made the position that he deals with pharmaceuticals. So, does that influence his decision, I don’t know,” Rep. Raymond Crews (R) explained.
Aside from Representative Crews’ pronoun bill, Representative Dodie Horton has one which bans discussions about sexual orientation or gender identity at all in classrooms.
“Some of the stated goals of this legislation are learning spaces that have fewer distractions, protecting teachers and giving parent’s rights. This legislation does none of that,” said Trans activist Pearl Ricks.
But like with the other bill, both had more than enough of the votes they needed to make it out of committee. Both are now just one step away from reaching the governor, which he has already spoken out against both of these bills.
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