The Republican-controlled Texas State Board of Education rejected proposals in a series of votes Thursday and Friday to teach students in public school health classes that everyone, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.
Board member Ruben Cortez, D-Brownsville, proposed standards requiring students in Grades 7-8 and high school be able to define and differentiate between sexual orientation and gender identity. Two other proposals called for students to learn that everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, regardless of their orientation or identity. Board Democrats and one Republican backed all four proposals, but nine Republicans voted them down.
“Imagine the tragic message state board members have sent by refusing to acknowledge that LGBT students even exist in our classrooms,” said Carisa Lopez, political director for the Texas Freedom Network., “The board had a chance to stand with young people who are looking to feel safe and respected in their schools. A majority of board members chose to abandon them and stand with the bullies instead.”
Mary Elizabeth Castle, policy advisor at the 501(c)(3) non-profit anti-LGBT hate group Texas Values countered: “Today, we are grateful that the State Board of Education voted to stick to education and teach children how to live a healthy and productive life as opposed to confusing them with controversial political ideologies. The statewide Health standards look nothing like Austin ISD’s radical sex education propaganda; and efforts to politicize Science failed.”