Arizona Lawmakers Refuse to Stop Discriminating Against LGBT Students

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May 12, 2016
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If you’re teaching students about their health, especially sexual health, you shouldn’t omit information that’s critical for some people. Yet this is exactly what an Arizona law mandates.

The law bans teachers from “suggest[ing] that some methods of sex are safe methods of homosexual sex” in instruction on HIV. It also prohibits portraying gay people in a positive light in that instruction.

This law needlessly puts the health of LGBT young people in Arizona at risk. It thwarts STI prevention efforts. And it’s difficult to see how students will view each other as equals if the very existence of LGBT people is treated as unmentionable in the classroom. This is a formula for stigmatization, harassment and disrespect.

Unfortunately, Arizona legislators recently killed a bill that would have removed these antigay provisions. Here’s one senator’s explanation for why: “I happen to believe in what the Bible says about sexuality. The problem is we have lost sight of that morality taught in the Bible.” Another lawmaker said, “If you think it’s O.K. to allow discussion in our schools of what directly causes AIDS to be O.K., I think that’s completely out of bounds.” Now the ball is in our court.

Lambda Legal launched an online campaign against anti-LGBT curriculum laws like Arizona’s. It’s called #DontEraseUs, because that’s exactly what laws like the one in Arizona do: they erase our existence.

Discrimination has no place in any lesson plan. We must stand up against these efforts to wipe away the accurate portrayal of LGBT people. That is why we continue to call attention to this injustice. And want to hear from you.

As part of our campaign, Lambda Legal will be speaking in Phoenix at the PFLAG Central Meeting this Monday, May 16, at 7 p.m. We will also be staffing booths at various Pride Festivals in Arizona throughout the year.

If you are an Arizona public high school student, parent or teacher and want to learn more, join our campaign