Teachers wouldn’t be able to mention that transgender people exist, even if there is a transgender student in the classroom.
By Alex Bollinger
Wednesday, February 10, 2021
Republicans in the state of Iowa are trying to ban schools from teaching about gender identity.
A bill (S.F. 167) would update elementary school curriculum standards in the state to say, “The curriculum provided to a student in accordance with this subsection shall not include instruction relating to gender identity.” The bill says that if teachers do intend to discuss gender identity in school, they’ll need to get written permission from all the students’ parents first.
The bill, introduced by eight Republican state lawmakers, does not block schools from using the concept of gender at all. It requires that teachers not discuss the idea that there is a “gender-related identity of a person, regardless of the person’s assigned sex at birth.”
In other words, teachers wouldn’t be able to mention that transgender people exist, even if there is a transgender student in the classroom.
Gag orders in other states and countries that block schools from discussing LGBTQ people – like Russia’s ban on LGBTQ “propaganda,” Utah’s “Don’t Say Gay” law, or the U.K.’s Section 28 that banned discussions of homosexuality in schools – have been criticized for promoting bullying. Teachers may feel that they would be breaking the law if they tell students not to bully a non-binary or transgender classmate or if they use the correct pronouns or the name of a transgender student.
The bill “is just another way to prevent children from learning about how they may differ from societal norms,” wrote editor Peyton Downing in the Daily Iowan. “By denying an education on gender identity, these schools prevent kids from garnering an understanding of who they really are.”