Texas

Two bills in Texas would restrict sexual orientation and gender identity classes in public schools.

Two bills to ban classes in Texas public schools on sexual orientation and gender identity below a certain level are due to gain Republican support in legislative session this year. But critics warn that the legislation could further marginalize LGBTQ students and their families and expose teachers to potential legal threats.

The two bills, sponsored by Representatives Steve Toth, R-The Woodlands, and Jared Patterson, R-Frisco, are very reminiscent of the Florida law that critics have dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” law. House Bills 631 and House Bills 1155 are among the anti-LGBTQ bills awaiting lawmakers when they return to the Capitol on Tuesday.

Florida law prohibits schools from teaching information about sexual orientation or gender identity from kindergarten through third grade. Both Texas bills reflect such a ban. HB 631 Tota will expand the restriction to the fifth grade. Patterson’s HB 1155 will expand it to eighth grade.

Their proposals also ban lessons on sexuality and gender identity at any level of instruction unless they are “age or developmentally appropriate”. Patterson’s bill does not specify what is appropriate for different age groups. Thoth’s bill requires lessons to meet state standards, but does not specify which standards.

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