[Atlanta 8th Thomson Reuters Foundation]–Sex education has emerged as a new battlefield in the US cultural war over the rights of sexual minorities (LGBT +). Some conservative state parliaments are moving to seek to keep discussions about sexual orientation and gender identity out of the domestic education arena.
Three Republican-dominated states have passed legislation this year to allow parents to prevent their children from taking classes dealing with LGBT + identities. On the other hand, there are criticisms that it robs gay and transgender youth of necessary information and promotes discrimination.
The governors of both Arizona and Arkansaw subsequently vetoed the bill, fearing it would be subject to proceedings, but Tennessee’s sex education law came into force in May. Conservatives welcome it as strengthening parental rights and religious freedom.
In response, activists promoting LGBT + rights are worried that school curriculum will be targeted more than ever by forces seeking to significantly reinstate gay and transgender rights. These movements are seen not only in the United States but also in several countries in Eastern Europe.
Gabriel Doyle of the U.S. NGO “Sex Information and Education Council” said, “A series of anti-transgender bills aiming for similar legislative measures, including the enactment of (Tennessee law), could boost discriminatory lawmakers. There is sex. “
“Sex education at school allows sexual minorities to gain a deeper understanding of their identities and experiences, combined with medically accurate and unbiased information about sexual orientation and gender identity. I can do it. “
Tennessee educators and human rights activists say the wording of the law is ambiguous and can affect school education in a much wider range than just sex education. This is because it gives parents the right to keep their children away from all lessons that touch the history, culture and rights of LGBT +.
Teachers must always contact their parents when dealing with “educational content that addresses sexual orientation and gender identity” in class. This could have implications for history lessons dealing with subjects such as the “Stonewall Rebellion” (1969), which triggered modern LGBT + advocacy efforts.
It has been pointed out that this could lead some teachers to self-regulate the material they cover in class for fear of violating the law.
Seven states have already banned teachers from taking LGBT + identities and relationships in class, according to the National Family Planning Federation, a reproductive health organization. Human rights activists suspect that Tennessee law could fuel similar moves towards the 2022 midterm elections.
Behind Tennessee’s Sex Education Act is a conservative reaction to LGBT + rights at the state level since the inauguration of President Joe Biden in January. President Biden has pledged to expand his gay and transgender rights and has lifted some of the restrictions set by his predecessor, Donald Trump.
President Biden withdrew the policy of the former Trump administration as soon as he took office. He has instructed federal agencies to extend equal advocacy to sexual minorities and has signed an executive order allowing transgender Americans to join the military.
But less than five months later, 2021 was the “worst year” in recent history of LBGT + rights in the United States, according to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), a human rights advocacy group. Many bills that block gay and transgender rights have been passed at the state legislature level.
According to the HRC, more than 250 LBGT + rights bills were submitted to the state legislature this year. It reflects the cultural conflict between liberals and conservative right-wingers.
Many bills call for restrictions on the right of transgender youth to access gender-related health care.
There are also legislation aimed at banning transgender students from attending women’s sports events and banning the choice of toilets for gender identity.
Those who support limiting the treatment of LGBT + issues in the school curriculum should be given final decision on their child’s education so that they can protect their children from topics that they consider harmful. Claim that.
Robert Norland, a spokeswoman for the Family Policy Alliance, a super-conservative group that opposes the protection of LGBT + rights, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that “parents have the right to decide the direction of their child’s education. There is. “
“Schools have a wide range of powers, but they cannot violate the basic rights of parents and children guaranteed by the Constitution for any reason. For example, schools limit children’s freedom of speech and religious activities. You can do it, but you can’t forbid it. “
But according to Sam Brinton, director of education for the Trevor Project, a U.S. NPO that works to prevent LGBT + youth suicide, a positive sex education program for LGBT + students with school problems. Receiving is essential for a happy life and, in the end, a life-threatening problem.
According to a survey conducted by the NPO, more than 40% of young people with LGBT + in the United States have considered suicide within the past year. However, the number of reported suicide attempts has decreased by 23%, which is believed to be causally related to having received LGBT + related education at school.
Only 28% of LGBT + youth in the United States say they have received LGBT + related education at school. Only 30% of them were briefed on the subject in sex education classes.
“We should enable LGBTQ youth to find their identities, actions and experiences in their lessons and textbooks,” Brinton said.
“This will not only give them the information they need to stay healthy, but will also allow LGBT + to be accepted and foster a positive school environment.”
At schools in Tennessee, teachers are facing new legislation. If you want to touch on a theme related to sexual orientation or gender identity, you will have to notify your parents a month in advance.
Carmen Shepherd, a science teacher at a junior high school in eastern Tennessee, said that even if his lessons were “purely fact-based,” some topics in theory were broadly envisioned by the law in question. Say there is a possibility of conflict.
“One of the themes I usually teach is how to reproduce. Among them, I also cover species that are male and female and species that reproduce differently from humans.”