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Home / MLM News Roundup / Gender identity bill faces criticism at Missouri Capitol

Gender identity bill faces criticism at Missouri Capitol

A Republican lawmaker has proposed a bill that would let Missouri parents remove their kids from classes and school events that touch on sexual orientation and gender identity, causing some parents to protest the measure at the state Capitol.

Rep. Chuck Basye said he introduced the measure after hearing concerns about posters that were given out by the student Gay/Straight Alliance Club at Gentry Middle School in Columbia. The students had posted signs describing various sexual orientations and genders.

Under Basye’s bill, parents could request that their children not be exposed to any type of materials related to sexual orientation or gender identity, including during classes and on things such as posters.

Most of the people who spoke about the measure during a House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee hearing Tuesday opposed the bill, the Columbia Missourian reported.

Danielle Meert’s son, Miles, is transgender. She said schools should ramp up efforts to teach students more about gender identity, noting that it’s essential for a thorough education.

“I mean, they have active shooter drills starting in kindergarten, which seems super scary to me as a parent,” Meert said. “But somehow, active shooter drills are deemed less traumatizing and less scary than learning that transgender humans and LGBTQ humans exist.”

Basye said the proposal aims to protect parents’ rights. One parent agreed.

Jay Atkins, a Gentry Middle School parent who was involved with having the posters removed, said he doesn’t have a problem with allowing students to learn about LGBTQ issues. However, Atkins noted that they can learn about those matters in sex education classes, which parents are already allowed to keep their kids from attending.

In her opposition to the bill, Rep. Judy Morgan cited Harvey Milk, who was the first openly gay men to be elected to a public office in California. Milk served on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors for 10 months before a former board member killed him. If Basye’s bill passes, Morgan said she’s worried that parents removing their students from a history class discussion about Milk would exacerbate problems within the classroom environment.

“If any LGBT student or an ally is in that class, and they know that these students are being removed because you’re teaching about an openly gay politician, that’s going to stigmatize those kids,” Morgan said. “That’s going to hurt those kids.”

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