Anti-LGBT is brought into curriculum

The Cat Eye

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Anti-LGBTQ+ laws threaten students

 

  When you turn on the news, for the most part the media coverage concerning the LGBT community is negative – pride parades that turn into drag shows or riots, Trump attempting to take away rights and acknowledgements of new places hosting legalized gay marriage with lack of in-depth detail. Little to no one is talking about the youth of the queer community. How 10% were threatened or injured with a weapon on school property, 34% were harassed on school property while 28% was electronically bullied according to the data from the 2015 national Youth Risk Behavior Survey, surveyed by LGBT students. LGBT youth represent an estimated 7%, about a 100 million, of the total youth population. That’s not counting all the kids who are not out.

  I see signs all around school’s and media nation-wide proclaiming “Stop Bullying”, stop the violence and yet laws are being made to encourage it. These laws are known as Anti-LGBT curriculum laws.

  Anti-LGBT curriculum laws, also known as “No Homo Promo” and “Don’t Say Gay” laws, are local or state education laws that directly ban teachers from talking about LGBTQ+ issues. This includes covering sexual health and HIV/AIDS awareness. They are discouraged from putting LGBTQ+ people in a positive light and most schools make it mandatory that teachers forcibly be negative if they are to regard them at all as well as giving inaccurate, false, misleading and/or incomplete information. These laws are enforced in 7 states including Alabama, Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas.

  Missouri is trying to pass that bill into law, “Many of these laws were passed in the 1980s and 1990s in response to the HIV scare and the anti-gay attitudes the epidemic fostered, but recently some state legislators, such as in Tennessee and Missouri, have pushed similar “don’t say gay” laws,” said German Lopez, a Senior Reporter at Vox.

  This law is used to excuse homophobia, as well as encourage it, with a simple “you shouldn’t be so open about it” kind of mindset. LGBTQ+ students are told in various ways by various people – fellow students and even the staff- that they are not “acceptable to the general public.” Laws like this are violating their constitutional right to equal protection.

   As the fourteenth amendment states, “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

  These “No Promo Homo” law “are sending out a message to LGBTQ-identified students that their impulse to love another human being is so shameful that we dare not speak its name in the classroom,” said Troy Williams, executive director at at Utah-based LGBTQ organization Equality Utah.

  Proving this, “I remember in middle school, asking about same-sex relationships, and being totally shut down, and being pulled aside by an administrator and told that’s not something we talk about.” said Angela T., a 17-year-old girl in Pennsylvania when interviewed by the Human Rights Watch.

   In extension of that, “Incidents build up and eventually you blow up. I think microaggressions are seen as not important or damaging as violence, but they are, just in different ways,” said Kayla E., a 17-year-old lesbian girl in Pennsylvania.

  Anti-LGBT curriculum laws create a dangerous environment, which is not what our educational system should be focusing on, “Public schools represent a vital institution in our democracy, laying the foundations of citizenship. But across the country, our public schools have been failing LGBT youth, who report alarming levels of bullying, isolation, and suicide. Invalidating anti-gay curriculum laws will not eliminate these risks, but it will reduce them—protecting mil­lions of LGBT students, and students with LGBT parents, from both physi­cal and psychological harms. By eradicating one of the country’s last vestiges of state-sponsored homophobia, advocates can take another step toward the integration of LGBT youth into American society and the equal protection of LGBT people of every age,” said Clifford Rosky, a Professor of Law at the University of Utah’s S.J. Quinney College of Law.

  School is for learning. It should not be about enforcing mindsets onto the next generation just because “well, that’s just the way we were raised.” How you were brought about is not your choice though how you act, who you are and who you will become is up to you.