Red states push for LGBTQ sanctions as war on education accelerates

Last April, a student at a high school in Utah named Gabriella Merida attended a town hall hosted by her governor. He introduces himself, notes the pronouns he uses, and challenges young LGBTQ people face with mental health challenges. How, he asked, does the state plan to help the constituents of their choice?

“My favorite pronouns are ‘yes,’ ‘this’ and ‘this’, so thank you for sharing with me,” Governor Spencer Cox, a Republican, responded. “We want everyone to feel included. We want everyone to feel safe. And we want everyone to understand that they belong.

A year later, ending the Republican-controlled Utah State Legislature’s Mr Cox’s Vote, transgender girls have stepped in to prevent girls from competing in sports. The mention of his conscience has become the subject of sarcasm and misleading video clips from the same party. And deep Red Utah is now at the center of a new war that is reorganizing the nation’s politics, destroying its education system – and, for some Americans, tainting their sense of belonging in a midterm election. The year is approaching.

From state capital to schools, disagreements over American identity and language issues are growing, who can tell what can and should not be done in youth sports teams and classrooms. These issues challenge governors against their state legislatures, business leaders against conservative activists and, in some places, Republicans against each other, while Democrats are formulating their answers and some trans-gender people are often Feel lonely

For Democrats and some Republicans, the legislation emphasizes issues that try to push the GOP base at all costs – though it means children and their families will see their governments embrace them. آهن.

In the first months of 2022, much of the policy controversy focused on two issues: efforts to limit the health of transgender youth and participation in girls’ sports, and a possible Florida law, signed by Governor Ron D. Saints A potential presidential candidate. This legislation, which forbids classroom instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity in some primary school grades, is called “Parental Rights in Education” – or, for its critics, “Don C.G. “The law.

Such efforts come when parents have spent two years navigating unusually challenging questions about the school, from mask mandates to controversial discussions on the curriculum. Some parents are also worried about what young children are being taught about sexual orientation and gender identity. At the same time, there has been debate about trans-genre sports titles and raising questions about how trans-genre children participate in sports.

At the University of Pennsylvania, a transgender woman named Leah Thomas dominated swimming events and earned national titles, scoring criticism from opponents and some teams as well as prominent female athletes.

There is relatively little polling on these issues, but a survey by the Public Religion Research Institute last year found that while 82 percent of Americans supported laws that protected LGBTQ people from discrimination, they were more concerned about other questions.

Only 36% of Americans surveyed said that transgender girls should participate in high school sports with other girls. The Gallup Poll found last May that 62% of Americans say that transgender players should only be allowed to play on sports teams that match their gender at the time of their birth, even in a previous Marist poll survey of a bill. Further opposition was found in which transgender student athletes were barred from playing. Teams that reflect their gender identity.

In the midst of all this chaos, the Republicans see the political inauguration.

Legislators in states outside Florida have recently expressed their intention to imitate the new state law. Opponents have been warned that sections of the law have a severe impact on teachers and students of all ages, including some who have relied on schools to talk about personal issues as a safe haven.

The debate has been ugly: some Florida law advocates call their critics “Groomers” – a term that decades-old Sumerians associated with the suggestion that LGBTQ people are at risk for children.

Many states have also approved restrictions on transfer care for minors, and Texas governor has asked state officials to look at medically accepted treatments for transgender youth, such as puberty blockers and hormones, as a policy. Which quickly became the subject of litigation. On Friday, the governor of Alabama signed legislation that would prevent medical specialists from providing care that helps transgender youth transition, among other major sanctions.

Bill supporters emphasize girls’ sports – an article that has appeared in some Republican campaign ads – as part of a broader set of justice issues and parental concerns for women’s sports, though Democrats and some Republicans question To what do they Real-world problems are designed to solve these steps.

“I hope the left doesn’t understand how big a deal it is,” said Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council. “They never know what killed them.”

And the Republican National Committee is eager to discuss the issue of schools, promising in a statement that the party will fight to “try to force dialogue about sex and transgender issues on our young children,” while the committee coordinates. Fans point to the beginning of the reach.

For a while, the power of right over LGBTQ issues diminished as a growing number of Americans, including Republicans, accepted same-sex marriage. After an outbreak, North Carolina repealed a law that would prohibit transgender people from using public bathrooms. And to limit other efforts, transgender rights were waived from Texas to Kentucky.

But activists from both sides see this moment differently.

During the epidemic, new sports-related restrictions have not always attracted the kind of national anthem that North Carolina bills. Former President Donald G. Trump, with his support of the foundation, reverses protections for transgender people. And with the Supreme Court of the same party firmly behind their back, many Republicans are committing cultural issues such as LGBTQ rights.

The number of transgender-rights-related measures in the State Houses has increased significantly.

The Human Rights Campaign, an LGBTQ rights organization, said that in 2020, state legislatures introduced a record 79 bills of time that the group considers anti-transgender. In the first months of 2022, that number is already at 140, Catherine Oakley, the organization’s state legislative director and senior adviser, said in an interview last week.

“They only stare until they can find what they think will capture the imagination of the masses and turn them against LGBTQ equality and acceptance,” he said. “They’ve cared about women’s sports as long as it was politically beneficial.”

A year later, he spoke with Mr. Cox during that town hall, with Ms. Merida, now 19 and a student at the University of Utah, alarming her state’s progress. As a lesbian teenager who has faced mental health challenges, she said that she engaged with Mr Cox because she was worried about the high risk of suicide among LGBTQ youth.

“It’s painful. This is devastating, especially for trans youth, “he said.” During those times, you felt helpless. But you kept fighting. “

President Biden addressed transgender Americans in his State of the Union address, and the administration has taken other steps. But some want other Democrats to push back harder.

“Republicans are trying to fuel the fear and ignorance of LGBTQ people, and especially to move children, to benefit in the middle ages,” said Charlotte Klemmer, a writer and transgender activist who mourned. “A space” of information and advocacy. The Republican. “Republicans are happy to fill that gap.”

Some Republicans turned away from legislative efforts. In his veto letter, Mr. Cox said that in Utah, four of the 75,000 high school athletes had transgender children. Only one of them, he said, was playing girls’ games. (Mr. Cox declined to comment on the veto for this article. Over the weekend, though, he did respond. On Twitter To the critics of the same party, he writes, “If you have to do a video doctor to make a nervous kid look like a gesture, it says more about you than me. Vote the same bill, though the legislature may repeal it.

“I’m worried about the message we’re sending to trans kids,” said state Representative Mike Wonder, a retired Utah Republican who supported the veto. “And little by little, we’re looking for a solution to a problem.”

In Florida, St. Petersburg State Senator Jeff Brands thinks he has found a compromise: he sought to amend education-related legislation to ban LGBTQ people without banning sex education at the third level. General Chat Chat Lounge When Republicans rejected the amendment, Mr Brands said, he believed the purpose of the legislation was to “influence” the LGBTQ community and create political tension.

Mr Brands, one of two Republican senators to vote against the bill, acknowledged what sensitive topics should be taught in the elections, though the legislature did not resolve a real crisis.

“It made me realize that the purpose of this bill was not to get in the news and solve problems,” he said. “As a legislator in 12 years, I have never raised this issue with a child in K-3.”

Emotions are especially high in Tallahassee.

After January Littlejohn and her husband filed a lawsuit at Leon County Public Schools, they claimed that they were excluded from decisions that included their 13-year-old, who expressed feelings that he was non-binary. Can do

Ms. Littlejohn along with Mr. DeSantis appeared on the bill’s signing last month.

“Parents are being systematically cut off from critical conversations with their child at school,” he said in an interview. “It’s undermining parents and their authority and basically sending kids the message that parents are hostile.”

But Rocky Hanna, superintendent of county schools, said Florida’s new law has sent the cold through teachers.

“They are scared to death,” he said. “What shall we say now? What can we not say? ‘ The governor has made it clear that he is encouraging parents to make cases on school districts.

The teacher “did not ask for these words,” Mr. Hanna continued. “But because of the special relationships a child has with their teachers, sometimes the students trust the teachers.”

In Florida and throughout the country, there has been a significant reaction to the extent of the new laws.

“We need to make our schools a political and cultural battleground instead of helping our kids do math and reading,” said Roy Cooper, North Carolina governor, chair of the Democratic Governors Association, which partially holds office. Moved to Opposing the bathroom bill. “Republicans are going to talk about it that way, I guess.”

Ms Merida recently reflected on a small gesture, after learning that her exchange point with Mr Cox had become a talking point.

“He just shared his conscience when I did my share, to help me,” he said. “It was a good thing to confirm that.”

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