Louisiana bill filed to prohibit conversations of sexual orientation, gender identity in classrooms
BATON ROUGE, La. (KSLA) - A northwest Louisiana state representative has proposed a bill that could ban discussions of sexual orientation or gender identity in certain public school classrooms.
“No teacher, school employee, or other presenter shall cover the topics of sexual orientation or gender identity in any classroom discussion or instruction in kindergarten through grade eight,” reads House Bill 837, which was authored by Rep. Dodie Horton, R-Haughton.
For K-12, those school employees would not be allowed to “discuss his own sexual orientation or gender identity with students.”
Dr. Tiffany Najberg said she expected bills like HB 837 to “stay out of Louisiana,” saying it will hurt children in the long-run. “You put a feeling of extreme isolation along with being different, and that’s tough for a lot of kids to deal with.”
Dr. Najberg, an openly transgender physician in Shreveport, said she does not want the LGBTQ+ community to be swept under the rug.
“I knew that I was transgender at age four. ... I had been brought up to think it was something to be hidden, something to be ashamed of. ... It took a long time to unlearn that damage.”
Rep. Horton said her bill has nothing to do with restricting the rights of the LGBTQ+ community.
“It’s not prejudice to one group or another; it just doesn’t discuss it at all,” she said. “This is to protect our students and have a law that the school board can build a policy around...There’s no need for any child to ever know the private life of their educators.”
Earlier in March, a similar bill in Florida, coined the “don’t say gay” bill by critics, made national headlines. Now it’s up to Gov. Ron DeSantis to decide whether it will become law in the Sunshine State.
As for Louisiana’s HB 837, Horton said it’s unclear when that bill will be discussed.
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