Inclusivity and LGBTQ+ Allyship


Calling all LGBTQ+ allies...it's time to step up.

What is happening?

Firstly, there is the "Don't Say Gay" bill.

Florida's House of Representatives passed a bill Thursday that would prohibit "classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity" in the state’s primary schools.
The legislation — titled the Parental Rights in Education bill but dubbed by critics the "Don’t Say Gay" bill — heads to the state's Republican-held Senate, where it is expected to pass. Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican who is running for re-election and is widely considered to be a potential 2024 presidential candidate, has previously signaled his support for the legislation and is expected to sign it into law.

Thursday’s 69-47 vote comes after weeks of national outrage over the measure, which has grabbed the attention of international newspapers, Hollywood actors and the White House. *

 And that's not all. In addition to the "Don't Say Gay" bill in Florida, there is also a political attack on transgender children and their families happening in Texas.

Attorney General Ken Paxton released a formal attorney general opinion concluding that performing certain “sex-change” procedures on children, and prescribing puberty-blockers to them, is “child abuse” under Texas law. **

After issuing this opinion,  Attorney General Ken Paxton proceeded to threaten anyone who may be a mandatory reporter. 

OAG Opinion No. KP-0401 makes clear, it is already against the law to subject Texas children to a wide variety of elective procedures for gender transitioning, including reassignment surgeries that can cause sterilization, mastectomies, removals of otherwise healthy body parts, and administration of puberty-blocking drugs or supraphysiologic doses of testosterone or estrogen. Texas law imposes reporting requirements upon all licensed professionals who have direct contact with children who may be subject to such abuse, including doctors, nurses, and teachers, and provides criminal penalties for failure to report such child abuse. Texas law also imposes a duty on DFPS to investigate the parents of a child who is subjected to these abusive gender-transitioning procedures, and on other state agencies to investigate licensed facilities where such procedures may occur. ***

These are direct attacks on our LBGTQ+ students. These bills are not only oppressive, but it is also extremely harmful. It is harmful to our students and their mental health. In a national survey by the Trevor Project, 42% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide last year. Also according to the Trevor Project, suicide is the second leading cause of death among youth people, with LGBTQ+ youth being four times more likely to seriously consider suicide, to make a plan for suicide, and to attempt suicide versus their peers. Additionally, the Trevor Project found that LGBTQ youths who reported having at least one LGBTQ-affirming space had lower rates of attempting suicide.

Students are supposed to be able to trust and confide in their teachers. Schools are supposed to provide a SAFE environment for students to be. How is that even remotely possible when students and their families have to fear being outed, reported, investigated, and even charged with child abuse? Or when students cannot talk about their home lives or themselves in the same way their peers can? Loving and supporting your child is NOT child abuse. Providing a loving home for your child is NOT child abuse. I for one, refuse to out a child or put them or their families at risk. 

Part of being able to talk about LGBTQ+ issues, rights, etc. is not only to be able to create a safe space for everyone, but to teach acceptance. That is the goal in every classroom. For students to accept one another regardless or race, religion, creed, sexual orientation, gender, etc.

To be clear, these are not just LBGTQ+ issues. This is a societal issue that affects all of us. Events like these will only further divide us, spread homophobia and transphobia, and take us so far backwards, erasing what we, and the historical figures before us, have worked so hard toward: equality.

There is nothing beneficial about the opinion or the bill. The act of fighting these blatant acts of injustice are not a burden for the LGBTQ+ community to bear alone. We, the allies, need to speak up, become involved, and fight back.

How can we, as allies, help?

1. Write a letter to your legislator and express your thoughts on this bill.(https://act.eqfl.org/a/oppose-dont-say-gay-bill2?_ga=2.56516459.1714306478.1645975269-536711014.1633460939)

2. Find and participate in a march, rally, or protest.

3. Post Safe Space signs and stickers in your classroom.

4. Be vocal about showing support and solidarity for the LGBTQ+ community.

5. Donate to an organization that supports the LGBTQ+ community.

(The Trevor Project, GLAAD, National Center for Transgender Equality)

6. Sign up for volunteer opportunities.


These are just some of the way that you can be an ally for the LBGTQ+ community. If there are other ways that I haven't mentioned, please add them in the comments!

I urge you to read the bill and opinion, stay educated, and keep finding new ways to support and help. Out students need us. The LGBTQ+ community needs us. Society needs us. It's time to fight. 

-Naomi

Busy Little Bees Teacher

For anyone in need of trans peer support during this stressful time in Texas (or anytime), you can call Trans Lifeline.

To read both the bill and opinion yourself, here are the links:

Don't Say Gay

Texas Opinion

Texas Follow-Up Letter 

*https://www.nbcnews.com/nbc-out/out-politics-and-policy/florida-house-passes-dont-say-gay-bill-rcna17532 

  **https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/news/releases/ag-paxton-declares-so-called-sex-change-procedures-children-and-prescription-puberty-blockers-be 

***https://gov.texas.gov/uploads/files/press/O-MastersJaime202202221358.pdf

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