An Important Message from Ella's Mom
The hard work of the LGBTQIA community and allies has been under attack for decades, but that attack has increased over the past few years. In 2018, state legislatures introduced 41 anti-LGBTQIA bills. In the first 3 months of 2022, nearly 238 bills have already been introduced, with about half of them targeting the transgender community (Lavietes & Ramos 2022).
Most people have read about the measures to stop transgender students from competing on school sports teams that align with their gender. Sadly, Lia Thomas bore the brunt of this vitriol when she won the women’s 500-yard freestyle event, earning her more derogatory memes than accolades for her accomplishments.
But people might not be as familiar with some of the other 238 bills and their proposed legislation. States are seeking to restrict LQBTQIA information in school curriculums, to allow discrimination under the guise of religious exemptions, to force transgender people to use the bathroom that corresponds with their birth certificate instead of identity, and to restrict gender-affirming health care (Lavietes & Ramos 2022). Nearly 75 bills call for bans or severe restrictions on classroom discussions, curricula, and library books that mention LGBTQIA—particularly in the primary grades (Kindy 2022).
At least a dozen other states are considering legislation that mirrors Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law. While the details vary between states and bills, most seek to prohibit schools from using curricula or discussing topics of gender identity and sexual orientation (Jones & Franklin 2022). Just when children are beginning to explore who they are and who they might become, LGBTQIA children will find themselves underrepresented or not represented at all, as will those children whose parents are LGBTQIA.
These bills, however, do not reflect the general feeling of most Americans when it comes to LGBTQIA rights. In fact, nearly 79% of American support laws that protect LGBTIA people from discrimination in their jobs, housing, and public accommodations. And nearly 70% of Americans support same-sex marriage (Kindy 2022).
Political experts believe that the increase in state bills, which contradict the beliefs of a majority of Americans, are related to lobbying on the behalf of conservative and religious groups and seeking to energize that base ahead of upcoming elections. The three most active organizations promoting anti-LGBTQIA bills are The Alliance Defending Freedom, The Heritage Foundation, and the Family Policy Alliance (Kindy 2022).
I wish for a day when LGBTQIA couples are afforded the same rights and respect as heterosexual couples. I worry about my future grandchildren, who will go to school and not be allowed to talk about their two moms. Sometimes it’s easy to create bills in a vacuum without seeing how it affects real people, our fellow citizens.
This Pride Month, consider writing your representatives and speaking out against these anti-LGBTQIA bills and consider ways you can support the LGBTQIA community. I am the proud mother of a queer daughter, and she is married to a beautiful and loving person. I support the LGBTQIA community, and I hope you will too!
Ella and her mom
Kindy, Kimberly. (2022, March 25). GOP lawmakers push historic wave of bills targeting rights of LGBTQ teens, children and their families. Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/03/25/lgbtq-rights-gop-bills-dont-say-gay/
Jones, Dustin & Franklin, Jonathan. (2022, April 10). Not just Florida. More than a dozen states propose so-called 'Don't Say Gay' bills. NPR. https://www.npr.org/2022/04/10/1091543359/15-states-dont-say-gay-anti-transgender-bills?t=1651482138142
Lavietes, Matthew & Ramos, Elliott. (2022, March 20). Nearly 240 anti-LGBTQ bills filed in 2022 so far, most of them targeting trans people. NBC News. https://www.nbcnews.com/nbc-out/out-politics-and-policy/nearly-240-anti-lgbtq-bills-filed-2022-far-targeting-trans-people-rcna20418