The North Carolina Senate passed SB 49 (North Carolina’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill) by a 29-18 vote, February 7, referring it to the House. Since the bill was first filed last week, legislators, healthcare professionals, educators, parents and students have all voiced their objections, highlighting the harm it would cause to LGBTQ youth. SB 49 would make schools an increasingly unsafe space for queer and trans students by subjecting them to forced outing and erasure in school curriculum. The bill targets vulnerable members of the LGBTQ+] community, particularly trans and gender non-conforming youth, and puts those with unsafe home environments at risk of abuse.
This bill also places an undue burden on teachers who are already overworked and underpaid, with North Carolina ranking 34th in teacher pay in the country. Under SB49, teachers face the threat of disciplinary action if they refuse to out trans students to their parents. The bill further burdens teachers with curriculum censorship and onerous documentation requirements. Teachers should be trusted to teach, and students should be given the opportunity to learn in a safe environment where their identities are celebrated – not erased.
“North Carolina’s own “Don’t Say Gay Bill” is part of a nationwide attack on LGBTQ+ equality and another of many bills targeting trans and queer youth across the country,” said ENC Executive Director Kendra R. Johnson. ”We know that anti-LGBTQ legislation has a negative impact on the mental health of LGBTQ+ youth, who already experience disproportionate adverse health outcomes. We urge legislators to listen to the many healthcare experts, teachers, and families speaking out on the dangers of this bill and to take action to stop this harmful legislation from moving forward.”