Texas bills would restrict school discussion on gender ID


File – With the U.S. Capitol in the background, a person waves a rainbow flag as they participant in a rally in support of the LGBTQIA+ community at Freedom Plaza, Saturday, June 12, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

(NewsNation) — A Texas bill would ban schools from teaching about gender identity and sexual orientation until high school.

House Bill No. 1155, one of many up for discussion now that the state legislature is back in session, states that a school district may not provide or allow a third party to provide “instruction regarding sexual orientation or gender identity to students enrolled in kindergarten through eighth grade.”

It’s similar to a Florida state law that went into effect last July. Officially called the “Parental Rights in Education” bill and dubbed by critics as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, the Florida legislation also forbids instruction on sexual orientation and gender orientation, in this case for kindergarten through third-grade students.

Another Texas representative, Republican Steve Toth, of The Woodlands, wrote House Bill 631, which would make it so teaching on these topics is prohibited until fifth grade.

State Rep. Jared Patterson, a Republican from Frisco who wrote Texas Bill No. 1155, said, “The sexualization of our children must stop.”

“Parents and taxpayers have spoken loudly over the past year-plus,” he said. “The message is no more radical ideology in the classroom — particularly when it comes to inappropriate or obscene content.”

Republicans control both the state House of Representatives and Senate in Texas. Lambda Legal says no less than 35 anti-LGBT+ bills have been pre-filed for the 2023 Texas state legislative session. Texas Republican lawmakers are backing legislation targeting gender-affirming care for transgender youth, as well as drag shows, the Texas Tribune reports.

Educators told the Tribune that elementary schools in the state have little formal instruction on gender identity or sexuality, with the content of sex education in public schools determined by local school boards. These governing bodies, the Tribune pointed out, usually appoint parents and administrators to school health advisory councils, to help “ensure the community’s values are included in health education.”

“Young people are being denied health care that could save their lives, and parents prosecuted for loving their children,” Ricardo Martinez, CEO of Equality Texas, said. “We believe in dignity for all Texans, and we will not sit idly by while our LGBTQ+ neighbors are being stripped of their basic rights.”

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