Sunday, April 14, 2024

A new bill in Missouri suggests that if teachers show support for students who socially transition, they might have to register as sex offenders

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A new law might be coming in Missouri that could make it really tough for teachers and counselors. If they help transgender students who are changing socially, they could be charged with a serious crime and even have to be listed as sex offenders.

A person named Jamie Gragg, who is part of the Republican party in Missouri, suggested this law called HB 2885. If it gets approved, it would make it illegal for school staff, like teachers, to support transgender students who are going through social changes, even if it’s just giving them information or help.

This law is part of a bigger trend in the US where some states are making rules that are not supportive of LGBTQ people. There is also a movement that wants parents to have more say in what is taught in schools about gender, sexuality, and race.

Doctors and experts from medical groups, like the American Medical Association, have said that supporting transgender people, including social changes, is the right thing to do for their health. But this proposed law in Missouri disagrees.

In simple terms, the bill defines social transitioning as when someone starts using a name, pronouns, and looks that match their gender identity, not what people assumed when they were born.

If someone is charged with breaking this law, they could face up to four years in prison and be listed as a sex offender for a long time. But it’s not clear yet if this law will actually become official.

Jamie Gragg, the person who suggested this law, says he wants parents to have more control over how their kids learn about social things. He thinks families should make decisions about their kids, and if there’s a problem, they can get help from professionals.

Some people are really upset about this law, including Jamie Gragg’s own brother. He says this law takes away important support for kids and targets teachers and others who show compassion or understanding.

People who support LGBTQ rights in Missouri are also worried about how this law might affect educators and students. They plan to talk to lawmakers and get the LGBTQ community involved to fight against this law.

In a bigger picture, there’s a concern about these kinds of laws creating a negative atmosphere, leading to more discrimination and even violence against LGBTQ people. In other states, similar laws have been passed, and some tragic events have happened, like the death of a nonbinary student in Oklahoma last year.

In 2023, more than 500 laws against LGBTQ rights were proposed in different states, and in 2024, there are 478 more laws being considered. The situation is making some people really worried about the future and the safety of LGBTQ individuals.

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