December 9th, 2016
Texas has a complicated history involving rights for children who identify as LGBTQ. First, the state of Texas blocked a federal order that would have allowed trans students in public schools to use restrooms that matched the children’s gender identity. The state of Texas has now expressed a desire for teachers to out LGBTQ students to their parents, with or without the consent of the student.
Prior Texas Legal History
In April of this year, a school district in Fort Worth issued guidelines stating that transgender students had the right to keep their gender identity private from their parents even if the child disclosed these details to someone at the school. These rules were then revised to involve parents unless doing so presented a significant risk to the child.
This most recent bill would require public schools to give parents any information regarding their child that is possessed by an employee of the district and relates to the child’s general physical, psychological, or emotional well being. This bill is an effective block of Fort Worth’s previous April rule allowing transgender individuals to keep this information secret.
The Scope of the Recent Bill
The language of this bill specifically addresses transgender students. Senator Konni Burton has addressed some specific issues about the intent of this bill. It is designed to provide parents with a right to full and total information concerning a child’s academic performance, emotional health, mental health, and physical health. The law will directly prohibit schools from creating laws that allow a child to keep any of this type of information from a parent. Senator Burton has expressed the desire that no parent in Texas should ever have to fight to learn these pieces of information about a child’s life.
This most recent bill is seen as a direct attack on a vulnerable population of LGBTQ children. These children often are not ready to come out about their sexual identity to their parents, but wish to talk about these issues with someone they trust. This recent bill directly contradicts the traditional role of many counselors, which is to provide a safe and confidential space for children. The Texas legislature is prepared to hear this bill in January.
Opposition to the Bill
Although proponents of bill claim that this recent regulation will be able to protect a parent’s right to know about a child’s life and gender identity, this bill also has the possibility of creating a tremendous amount of friction between parents and children who are not able to accept a child’s identity.
The Effect of the Bill
Nearly half of the country’s population under the age of eighteen identify as LGBTQ. Many of these young adults have been kicked out of residences due to relationships with intolerant parents. Many other parents attempt to enroll children in therapy programs until the child is eighteen. Many individuals see this recent legislation as only increasing the number of the these hostile types of relationships.
The Universal Life Church’s Blog
Texas is viewed by many individuals as the site of controversial LGBTQ laws, and decisions made in the state of Texas are likely to influence the rest of the country. The Universal Life Church’s blog aims to trace various developments concerning LGBTQ issues particularly concerning how schools treat individuals who identify as LGBTQ.