Skip to main content

Home News News World

Louisiana set to introduce its own ‘Don’t Say Gay, Don’t Say Trans’ law

Under the bill, teachers will be required to use a gender-diverse student’s previous name and pronouns that align with their sex assigned at birth

By Jamie Tabberer

A pride flag blowing in the wind
(Image: Pixabay)

The US state of Louisiana is poised to introduce its own version of Florida‘s infamous ‘Don’t Say Gay, Don’t Say Trans’ bill.

The Louisiana Senate passed the Republican-drafted legislation prohibiting teachers from discussing sexuality and gender identity in classrooms on 23 May 2024 in a 28-7 vote.

H.B. 122 previously passed the House with a vote of 67-28.

The measure would prevent school staff – everyone from kindergarten to grade 12 – from discussing LGBTQ existence in school and during extracurricular activities “in a manner that deviates from state content standards or curricula developed or approved by the public school governing authority.”

It would also require teachers to use gender-diverse pupils’ former names and pronouns that align with their sex assigned at birth.

“We cannot keep telling our children they do not matter”

Debating the matter in the Louisiana State Capitol building on 10 May, state Representative and New Orleans Democrat Candace Newell said (as per PA): “We cannot keep telling our children they do not matter, and that is what we’re saying with legislation like this. Just because a person is different does not mean that we should discriminate against them.”

Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay, Don’t Say Trans’ bill, also known as the Parental Rights in Education Act, similarly prohibits classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in all grades.

It was enacted by Governor Ron DeSantis on March 28, 2022 and extended last year.

“Completely, utterly wrong”

Responding to news of the expansion of Don’t Say Gay, Don’t Say Trans last year, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said during a briefing: “It’s completely, utterly wrong.”

Jean-Pierre, who is a lesbian, continued: “Make no mistake, this is part of a disturbing and dangerous trend we’re seeing across the country, of legislation that [is] anti-LGBTQI+, anti-trans, in a way we have not seen in some time.

“We’re talking about students, we’re talking about educators, we’re talking about individuals. [The White House] will continue to fight for the dignity of Americans.”

Don’t Say Gay is arguably modelled on Section 28, a British law enacted in 1988 prohibiting local authorities, including schools, from “promoting homosexuality” or teaching “the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship”.

Earlier this month, the UK government revealed plans to prevent schools teaching children under nine about LGBTQ existence. The guidance, now open to an eight-week public consultation, will become statutory once finalised. It is seen by many as a de facto Section 29.

Critics have also drawn comparisons between Section 28 and Russia’s so-called ‘Gay Propaganda Law’. Enacted in 2013, it bans the promotion of “non-traditional sexual relationships” to minors.

h/t: PN