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OPINION: New bill forcibly outs LGBTQ students

A bill has been introduced to give parents more knowledge over their kids’ well-being, but will also force them out of the closet. SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE/WIKIMEDIA COMMON

LGBTQ adolescents are at risk of being outed to dangerous situations, thanks to HB 1557. The House Education and Employment Committee advanced this bill Jan. 20, making schools out primary students under the guise of help.

While parents are expected to have good intentions for their children, that isn’t always the case — especially with bigoted parents. Teachers should decide at their discretion, rather than be mandated to notify parents of a child’s sexual orientation.

If schools violate the rule, parents have the power to seek legal action and win legal fees. Members of the committee say this bill would further parents’ ability to decide what’s best for their children, claiming it’s for the well-being of the students. 

Coming out has excruciating consequences for many kids. Half of teens get a negative reaction when they come out to their parents, and 1 in 4 are kicked out as a result, according to True Colors United.

A 2019 study by the New England Journal of Medicine found that an estimated 20,000 LGBTQ adolescents will be subjected to conversion therapy by the time they turn 18. 

Conversion therapy is unethical and often traumatizing.

The Independent Forensic Expert Group (IFEG) concluded in 2020 that conversion therapy is unscientific and violates the global ban on torture and ill-treatment, claiming it often leads to PTSD.

To out a child to their parents is to put them at risk of a negative reaction, thrown out of the house or sent to conversion therapy. 

Rep. Randy Fine advocated for this bill when speaking to the committee, stating school boards have been prioritizing politics over students and parents. Fine has it backwards, outing students before they’re ready causes more harm than good.

While parents have primary responsibility for their children, they don’t always have the student’s best interest in mind, especially after the student comes out.

When a student is hesitant to come out to their parents, we should trust their judgment rather than out them.

HB 1557 violates the privacy of students who may confide in teachers, an adult at the school that they trust where they may not have one at home. 

This bill shouldn’t be advanced for the safety of LGBTQ youth. Some parents value bigotry over their child’s safety, so to progress this bill is to heighten the possibility of subjecting more kids to abuse.