This story was first published by The 19th on April 20, 2022.
Earlier this month, Gov. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey passed House Bill 322, called the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, banning public school teachers from discussing LGBTQ + history or people in public elementary schools.
Two reasons: Alabama was only the second state to pass such a law in 21 years, when Florida passed a similar system in March. But more importantly, Ivey only signed a repeal of such a law last year.
At least 20 states have introduced “Don’t Practice” laws this year, which have wreaked havoc across the country. But in a few states, publications of the law have been around for years.
READ MORE: Florida Legislature votes to remove Disney from self -government after opposing ‘Don’t Be Gay’ bill
Since 1992, Alabama’s education law has been proven to emphasize that educators “in reality and from a public health perspective, sexuality is not a socially acceptable way of life and sexual behavior. it is a crime under state law. “
Ivey did not give any public details when he signed the repeal, which was first passed by the legislature, but his signature appeared to be up to date. Last year, the “Don’t Say Gay” laws passed in the 1980s were considered old -fashioned, LGBTQ +people say, and many of them have been repealed over the years. After marriage equality became the law of the land in 2015, seven states passed laws regulating curriculum covering LGBTQ+ history and life.
Republican lawmakers say higher curriculum fees allow parents to choose what their children learn about sex at an early age; Florida’s new law bans discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity until after third grade, at which time parents must be notified when learning. their children about LGBTQ+issues. But this year, because 15 states now have anti-trans sports bans on the books, LGBTQ + lawmakers say Republican lawmakers are hoping to unite with each other for political success.
“Republicans should put a corrective opinion on the board, write their anti -LGBT signs, and say,‘ Look, I really argued about this. ’Or,‘ He said. I’m going to the rug for this anti -LGBT movement, ‘”said Adam Polaski, communications director for the Campaign for Southern Equality. “Unfortunately, opponents of LGBT equality often take their battles to schools.”
Texas lawmakers have expressed interest in pursuing a “Don’t Be Gay” bill like Florida and Alabama, even though the state has had a similar regulation on the books since 1991. .In Texas, the state still maintains educational materials for people below. 18 years of age “has declared homosexual behavior to be unacceptable and a crime.”
According to the Movement Advancement Project (MAP), which runs LGBTQ + policies nationwide, 19 percent of the country lives in a state where LGBTQ + curriculum is banned. Most are in states and laws that preceded Florida and Alabama. However, many Americans are often unaware of the fact that Florida was not the first state to pass such a law, advocates said.
Oklahoma passed the first state law banning teachers from talking about sex in an AIDS -related forum in April 1987, and Louisana followed in July. South Carolina passed a “Don’t Be Gay” bill in 1988. Texas and Arizona passed their own laws in 1991. In total, nine states passed laws banning schools from teaching. was “sexual” from 1987 to 2001, when Utah used its definition.
Much of that was written in sexual law. For example, Louisiana law still has books that state, “No sex education education offered in state public schools uses any sexually explicit material to show sexual activity. male or female. “
However, that is not the case in all states, said Logan Casey, senior policy analyst and consultant for MAP.
“Many of these laws are written vaguely so that they can be applied more broadly than the clear letter of the law might suggest,” Casey said of those laws. written until 2001.
Mississippi’s sex law requires teachers to study current state laws related to sexual behavior and lists “sexual harassment” along with sensitive issues such as “forced, legalized, institutionalized paternity “and” child care. ” Mississippi state law does not protect LGBTQ + people from discrimination.
Casey says the bills are a testament to the AIDS problem, as concerns have been raised about sexual harassment for example. the school. It also goes back to the popular “Save Our Children” campaign led by activist Anita Bryant in the 1970s to end the prevention of discrimination for LGBTQ + people in Miami, Florida.
WATCH: How the Florida ‘Don’t Be Gay’ law regulates education lessons on gender, sexual orientation.
“Once the HIV epidemic came into the picture, then many states began to think and enact laws banning sex education and sexuality in public education, publishing this‘ Save Our Children ’ strong awareness and fear and prejudice during the HIV epidemic, ”Casey said.
Five states repealed their “Don’t Be Gay” bills between 2006 and 2021, when Alabama repealed its law.
Those familiar with the old rules of education expressed surprise as Florida’s recent bill has shocked the nation. Advocates say part of that surprise is that the “Don’t Say Gay” law has been revived after twenty years. They also add that local groups are more adept at fighting systems.
Vivian Topping, the advisory and organizational director of the Equality Federation, a coalition of state LGBTQ + organizations, said local Florida organizations are working overtime to hear complaints about their bill. “Don’t Be Gay”.
“They made TV commercials and gathered national partners to make a big difference from what happened in Florida,” he said in a statement.
Advocates say the current push for “Don’t Practice” bills is political. Nadine Smith, chief executive of Equality Florida, said the decision by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis pushes the “Don’t Say Gay” bill in Florida less to kids but more about the Republican president’s intentions.
“DeSantis has damaged our state’s reputation as a welcoming and united place for all families, he has made us role models and targets of national ridicule,” Smith said in a statement. “What’s worse, he’s making schools unsafe for kids.”
DeSantis argued that his bill allows parents to choose what their children will learn.
“Parental rights are increasingly under attack nationwide, but in Florida we stand up for parental rights and the important role they play in educating their children,” he said. DeSantis in a statement.