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ROUNDUP: Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill SB 272 Opposed By 80 NH Faith Leaders, 30+ School Board Members, Etc

CONCORD, NH — Community leaders across the entire state have joined together in a resounding plea, urging lawmakers to vehemently oppose SB 272, New Hampshire’s version of so-called “parental rights” legislation aimed at forcibly outing trans students.

This week alone 80 faith leaders across the state, and 30+ school board members signed letters opposing the bill. Both letters make it clear that SB 272 represents an existential threat to trans students in New Hampshire and should be voted down. Last week, a joint letter by three trans members of the New Hampshire House of Representatives was released detailing their opposition to the bill.

SB 272 is just one part of a nationwide push by conservative lawmakers at demonizing the trans community to mobilize the most extreme elements of their base and demonstrate momentum to their donors. Granite Staters are overwhelmingly speaking out in opposition to the bill. Read below for a roundup of opinion pages of newspapers across the Granite State.

ROUNDUP:

  • Days before the New Hampshire House takes up a contentious vote on a “parental bill of rights,” a group of church leaders are voicing opposition.

  • In a letter Monday, 80 religious leaders, including pastors, priests, rabbis, and nuns, urged the House not to pass Senate Bill 272, the latest bill attempting to require public schools to disclose more information about students to parents.

  • As openly transgender state representatives, we work hard to engage with our fellow representatives about what it means to be transgender. We write as a transgender woman, a nonbinary transgender person, and a transgender man.

  • To our colleagues in the State House who want less government involvement in personal lives: oppose this bill that unnecessarily mandates teachers’ involvement in complex family dynamics. To Granite Staters who are already with us, contact your representatives and make sure they plan to show up and vote against SB 272. It’s going to be a close one. The trans adults of tomorrow will breathe a sigh of relief when it’s voted down.

  • We have heard from the frontlines of child protection and from LGBTQ advocates that this bill does more harm than good. The New Hampshire Office of the Child Advocate opposes SB 272, noting they receive reports of abuse linked to a child’s gender and sexual identity every day. Many Granite Staters have shared personal stories about the fear and lack of acceptance they’ve experienced at home after being outed.

  • Schools work best when teachers, parents and students are all engaged working towards what is best for the children of New Hampshire. The government inserting itself into family relationships is bad for everyone.

  • Community is what makes schools work. Outside of the dedicated teachers and school staff, volunteers and PTA members run school events, help to put on practices, games and plays. These volunteers are exactly that—people who expect nothing in return but show up when their community needs them. However, SB 272, being considered by the full House this week, could cause these well-intentioned community members to be stuck in between reporting on a student they may barely know, or facing a lawsuit. All individuals who work, volunteer or act on behalf of a school should be aware of SB 272.

  • No one should be forced to “out” a student to their parents. These conversations are best left between parents and their children. But if this bill passes, the next time community members sign up to help with the class Valentine’s Day party, they will be put at risk. The next time they are asked to volunteer at a game, or a show, or at a class party, they will have to ask themselves whether volunteering in that capacity is worth being sued and worth potentially losing their child’s college fund or their home.

  • There have been nearly 500 anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced across state legislatures this year alone. How New Hampshire responds to Senate Bill (SB) 272 will determine whether we are a state that supports all its residents or one that has given in to attacks from national groups that want to use transgender youth as political pawns.

  • Religious and conservative parents do have considerable freedom in New Hampshire: they can homeschool or to send their children to private schools that comport with their ideology. Pushing this ideology on everyone else is dangerous and wrong. Please call your state rep today and tell them to vote no.

  • Masked as a bill to help parents use their authority with their children, SB 272 is, in reality, an extremely harmful LGBTQ+ bill. It would force school staff to “out” students to their parents/guardians. This bill creates a divisive situation between parents and teachers by promoting the untrue idea that teachers don’t want to share information with parents. Teachers go to college and choose to have a career in educating the youth of America, not police the students who identify in the LGBTQ+ community.

  • Transgender adolescents are at a significantly increased risk of suicide attempts compared to adolescents who are not transgender. We know supportive school environments can decrease depression and attempts of suicide.

  • Unfortunately, Senate Bill 272 jeopardizes the health, well-being, and learning potential of New Hampshire students.

  • SB 272 oversteps basic safety concerns and specifically targets trans and gender nonconforming students. Young people know their family dynamics better than any school staff member. If a student is having a problem discussing a personal topic or issue with a parent, the answer isn’t to use the government to force teachers and counselors to squeal on that student to that parent. The answer is to have mechanisms of support in place to enable better judgment-free communication between the student and the parent.

  • Forcing school personnel to betray the trust of these kids by outing them to their parents is cruel and infringes on the privacy of the minor child. For vulnerable youngsters, the presence in their lives of a trusted non-family adult can make a monumental difference. SB272 removes trusted teachers, coaches and counselors from this role at a time when our kids need them the most.

  • Under the guise of parental rights, the New Hampshire legislature is taking aim at LGBTQ youth. The legislature is considering SB 272, an insidious bill that would require schools to surveil students and report to parents if school staff detect even a whiff of gender-nonconformity. It would also require schools to track and report which students attend even one meeting of a Gender-Sexuality Alliance, or GSA. As the Executive Director of Seacoast Outright, a community organization with a mission of creating a safe space for youth to explore the topics of gender and sexuality in a welcoming and understanding environment, I know how harmful it would be to mandate government interference in these sensitive situations.

  • “It’s not like there’s a tidal wave of these occurrences happening in our schools, and when it does happen, our staff completely understands that the relationship between home and school is important,” said (Robert) Malay, whose SAU covers the Chesterfield, Harrisville, Keene, Marlborough, Marlow, Nelson and Westmoreland school districts.

  • “When things like this are mandated or put into a law, it gets difficult for teachers,” Malay said. “You’re asking educators to make a determination of what’s more important, the safety of that child or their job.”

  • Children who love their parents very much are also the most afraid of hurting them. It takes tremendous courage to come out to those you love the most.

  • The only exception in SB 272 is that information does not have to be shared with known abusers. More often than not, the fact that a child hasn’t shared with their parents what they are feeling is because they are not emotionally ready to do so. Forced “outing” by those they trust will cause harm to the child. It is crucial that a child or young person is respected and supported and provided with a safe place and person in order to find their own way and in their own time to come out to their parents.

  • SB 272 oversteps basic safety concerns and specifically targets trans and gender nonconforming students. Young people know their family dynamics better than any school staff member. If a student is having a problem discussing a personal topic or issue with a parent, the answer isn’t to use the government to force teachers and counselors to squeal on that student to that parent. The answer is to have mechanisms of support in place to enable better judgment-free communication between the student and the parent.

  • I am distraught at the cruelty I see unfolding in NH bills that seem to target transgender people, especially transgender youngsters. SB272, the “Parents Bill of Rights,” requires that school personnel inform parents of information regarding their kids’ gender identity. This would destroy confidentiality between a student and a teacher, coach or counselor. It would turn school personnel into informants forced to reveal things that kids do not want revealed.

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