Florida began passing the “Don’t Say Gay Bill’ in October of 2022. The bill entails that schools aren’t allowed to use federal resources to teach students about sexual activity/orientation, gender identity, dysphoria or transgenderism.
As of this moment roughly five states have a state law similar to this bill, four states have a parental consent policy that goes along with the bill, seven states have a law that explicitly requires it to be included in curriculum and the remaining states have neither a law or bill for or against LGBTQ+ curriculum in schools.
In early February Missouri’s government decided to go further on the proposal on the “Don’t Say Gay Bill.”
“Missouri’s bill would only allow licensed mental health care providers to talk to students about gender identity and LGBTQ issues in K-12 public schools, and only if guardians first give permission,” according to apnews.com.
Having this law would restrict LGBTQ+ youth from learning about themselves and how to deal with the mental and emotional struggles that come with living in a world with so many anti-LGBTQ people.
“Missouri is the second leading state with most anti-LGBTQ bills, having 31, only following Oklahoma by three,” according to reckon.news.
“The bill says that ‘no nurse, counselor, teacher, principal, contracted personnel, or other administrative official at a public or charter school shall discuss gender identity or sexual orientation with a minor student’ unless they’re a licensed mental health care provider and have a guardian’s permission.
“The Missouri bill goes further than the Florida law, which restricts classroom instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity through kindergarten to grade three, by not specifying an age group and explicitly barring discussion on these topics,” according to abcnews.com.
Casey Pick, director of law and policy at the Trevor Project, which provides services and crisis support for LGBTQ+ youth, said last year the group served over 4,300 people in Missouri and that this bill would make the job harder.
“No matter what a young person does, no matter how long they wait, no matter what medical procedures they undergo, this law would mean that a document that follows them their entire life that is issued by their home would never actually reflect who they are,” Pick said, according to stlpublicradio.org.
This will be Dakota Motley’s first year on ECHO staff. They also made several contributions while taking journalism class their junior year.