Louisiana Governor to Sign Controversial ‘Don’t Say Gay’ in Schools Bill

By a 28-7 vote with support from all Republicans and two Democrats, Louisiana State Senators passed House Bill 122, which will effectively ban discussions of LGBTQ+ issues in schools. 

Going to the Governor

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The bill has been compared to similar “Don’t Say Gay” bills in other states. After being passed by the Senate, it will now go to Governor Jeff Landry, who is expected to sign it into law.

Governor Landry

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Governor Jeff Landry is a conservative known for opposing moderate voices within his party, and his approval will make Louisiana the latest state to implement such restrictive measures on LGBTQ+ discussions in schools.

Prohibiting Discussion

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This new bill prohibits teachers from discussing sexual orientation or gender identity with students from kindergarten through 12th grade and extends the ban to extracurricular and athletic activities.

Completely Removed From School

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The bill is an attempt by worried conservative parents to create an environment where personal discussions about sexuality and gender identity are completely removed from the school setting.

Critics of the Bill

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Critics likening it to Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill are arguing that the bill harms queer youth by stigmatizing their identities and limiting supportive conversations.

Negatively Impacting Youth

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Similar bills have continued to be passed across the United States, and in these states, the legislation has been shown to negatively impact the mental health of LGBTQ+ students by creating an atmosphere of silence and exclusion.

Exacerbating Mental Health Issues

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One such critic is Senator Royce Duplessis, who pointed to new and alarming data that states 40% of LGBTQ+ youth considered suicide in the past year and argued the bill exacerbates these mental health issues.

Making it Worse

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When debating the bill, Senator Duplessis pointed out that “Don’t Say Gay” legislation makes queer youth mental health worse, per the New Orleans Advocate.”

Stopping Heterosexual Discussions

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According to state Rep. Dodie Horton, the bill also prevents discussions of heterosexuality and cisgender identity to avoid any sexualized personal discussions in classrooms.

Inappropriate Discussions

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When supporting the bill, Horton said, “Having sexualized personal discussions between educators and students in our classrooms are not appropriate.”

Discussing Personal Lives

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 At the same time State Sen. Beth Mizell argued the bill helps parents trust that LGBTQ+ school employees won’t discuss their personal lives with students.

Parents Can Have Confidence

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Senator Mizell said, “It’s good to have a safe place where parents can have some confidence.”

Banning LGBTQ+ Organizations

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The bill also includes provisions that will ban LGBTQ+ student organizations like Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) from schools and restrict discussions of sexual orientation or gender identity in any school-related activity.

The Trend in Louisiana

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This bill is also following shortly behind another bill in Louisiana called The “Women’s Safety and Protection Act” that bans transgender bathroom ban in Louisiana.

The Larger Trend

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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has highlighted the fact that many states have introduced bills to roll back or strip away protections from LGBTQ+ people, with 12 states passing such legislation in the first five months of 2024.

More than 35 States

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The ACLU reported, “More than 35 states have taken up bills to roll back or strip away protections from LGBTQ+ people.”

Overturning a Landmark Decision

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With all these concentrated efforts to limit LGBTQ+ protections, there has been speculation about the U.S. Supreme Court potentially overturning the landmark Obergefell v. Hodges decision.

Rowe v Wade’s Sign of the Times

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The Obergefell v. Hodges decision legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, and after the overturning of Rowe v. Wade, there is a real possibility that this case may be next.

Continuing the Fight

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Despite this mounting pressure,  LGBTQ+ advocates like HRC’s Cathryn Oakley continue to condemn these bill for denying acknowledgment of LGBTQ+ issues and people.

Nothing Inappropriate

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Oakley said, “There is absolutely nothing inappropriate about being LGBTQ+ or in acknowledging LGBTQ+ issues and people.”

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The post Louisiana Passes ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill In a Concerning Nationwide Trend first appeared on Pulse of Pride.

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