On the first day of Pride Month, the North Carolina Senate passed their very own version of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, WRAL reported.
Following in the footsteps of their GOP counterparts in other states, House Bill 755 is a discriminatory bill aimed at erasing LGBTQ+ voices from school curriculum, putting a target on our already overburdened and under-resourced educators, and would require mandatory reporting to parents if a student, regardless of grade, begins to question their sexual identity in school.
Two weeks ago, teachers, parents and student advocates spoke out against the proposed Parents’ Bill of Rights legislation before the Senate health care committee.
Many parents and advocates have raised alarms about the harm of these measures. The bill is a blatant attack on LGBTQ+ students and families and could force students into coming out – potentially putting many students’ lives at risk or possibly leading to homelessness.
“It’s creating an environment where we’re telling folks that it’s not OK to be yourself,” stated Vince Haywood, a pastor at St. John’s Metropolitan Community Church. “You have to hide parts of who you are. We’re forcing people to live a lie, and we’re promoting poor health, mental health.”
Studies show that one in four LGBTQ+ teens are forced to leave their homes after coming out to their parents. While some students may find their families supportive, with legislation like House Bill 755, many North Carolina students could find themselves in dangerous situations.
While some students may find their parents supportive, protesters fear some students forced to ‘come out’ may find themselves in dangerous situations.
“This bill isn’t just bad for students –it’s a blow to our entire state. We know from the fallout of the dangerous bathroom ban, HB2, that our economy suffers when extremists pass legislation that excludes people from participating in our economy, tarnishes our state reputation, and prevents businesses from attracting or retaining talent in our state,” stated Kendra R. Johnson, Equality NC Executive Director in a statement.
“This bill jeopardizes our children and our economy while doing nothing to solve the real problems that families across the state face every day.”
Despite a majority of Americans rejecting the idea of censoring classrooms, Republicans in at least a dozen states, including North Carolina, have proposed bills that mirror Florida’s controversial law.
“We are saddened that our politicians have ignored the lessons to be learned from other states where harmful bills have already proved devastating to young people,” stated Shoshanna Carroll, Equality NC Communications Director. “We urge the NC legislature to follow the lead of parents, teachers, LGBTQ+ people, business leaders, and healthcare providers in rejecting this bill.”