In the wake of Florida’s passage of a controversial anti-LGBTQ+ education bill, legislatures in multiple states are introducing legislation to keep LGBTQ+ content out of primary schools.
Earlier this year, lawmakers in Florida’s State House and Senate passed the Parental Rights in Education Bill, known as the “Don’t Say Gay” Bill, which restricts the teaching of LGBTQ+ content in kindergarten through third grade classrooms. The bill also allows parents to take legal actions against schools that violate this legislation.
Now, an investigative report from NPR found that at least 12 states across the country have followed Florida’s lead. Anti-LGBTQ+ legislation has cropped up in Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Tennessee.
Some of the legislation limits discussions of LGBTQ+ content in classrooms (Louisiana and South Carolina), while other bills limit the use of books and instructional materials that feature LGBTQ+ content (Oklahoma, Tennessee).
Additionally, The Guardian reports that two states, Rhode Island and Wisconsin, have either approved or proposed legislation regarding children’s pronoun usage. The Wisconsin bill, which has been approved but not signed into law, allows parents to choose their child’s pronouns. The proposed Rhode Island bill would require schools to use pronouns in accordance with a child’s biological sex unless parents give permission otherwise.
Of the states which have proposed anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, Alabama has become the latest to sign such legislation into law. On Friday, Governor Kate Ivey signed two bills: one, which would restrict LGBTQ+ content in school classrooms, similar to Florida’s bill, and the other which bans gender-affirming care for trans minors.
While Alabama is the third state to pass a medical ban on gender-affirming care, it is the first in the country to criminalize such care. Although a similar bill had previously passed in Arkansas, it was blocked from going into effect pending the outcome of a lawsuit filed by the ACLU.