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Bills to prohibit discussion of LGBTQ+ problems in schools in the United States are a threat to free expression, according to a report.

According to a free speech advocacy group, Republicans in states across the country are targeting LGBTQ rights through a wave of “educational gag orders,” which are being used to censor discussion of race and sexual identities in schools.

Conservatives are fighting to censor the discussion of race and sexual identities in schools.

 

According to a report by PEN America – a non-profit that aims to safeguard freedom of expression in the United States – more than 100 bills censoring teachers have been submitted in state legislatures this year, in what the organization describes as a “national assault on our education system.”

The warning comes at a time when conservatives are attempting to ban literature about race and LGBTQ+ problems from schools in a number of states, and other legislatures are working to pass legislation that would prohibit instructors from discussing homosexuality.

The organization PEN America stated that “schools and universities are threatened now to a degree that has not been seen in recent history, ranging from book bans to educational gag orders.” ‘There is a desire, if not an eagerness, to use the weight and might of the government to exert control over classroom speech.’

Last year, PEN America identified 155 proposals introduced in 38 states that would restrict what teachers can say and teach in the classroom. According to PEN America, there has been a “significant increase” in the introduction of what the organization refers to as “gag orders” from the year 2022.

It has already been heavily denounced, with US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg among many who have described the law as “dangerous.” Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which would prohibit discussion of sexuality and gender identity in schools, has already been highly criticized.

The legislation, which was passed by the Florida Senate’s education committee on February 8, has received the support of Governor Ron DeSantis.

The plan, which must be approved by both the Florida Senate and the House of Representatives before it can become law, would allow parents to launch lawsuits against school boards if they believe the practices violate state law.

An obscenity bill introduced in the Kansas House of Representatives on February 9 would amend the state’s obscenity statute, according to PEN America, making it a class B misdemeanor for a teacher to utilize any material in a classroom that shows “homosexuality.”

To prevent students from participating in school clubs “including sexuality, gender, or gender identity,” Republican legislators in Arizona have presented legislation that would need parental authorization before participating in such clubs.

PEN America stated that as a result, “homosexual and bisexual kids seeking support from their classmates would be forced to out themselves to their parents before seeking support from their peers.”

A surge of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, according to PEN America, has been linked to the anti-critical race theory (CRT) movement, which has seen certain states prohibit discussion of the modern-day consequences of historic racism in the United States.

CRT is an academic subject that investigates the ways in which racism functions in the United States’ legal system and social structure.

“[The anti-critical race theory movement] has positioned the public to favor widespread control of classroom speech. […] ” It’s a once-in-a-generation window of opportunity for anti-LGBTQ+ radicals, a chance to force through legislation that is far more restrictive than what the general population would accept.

It is simply the purpose of PEN America to keep LGBTQ+ themes off the school grounds, according to the organization’s latest report.

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