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Ariz. Politician Kills 'Gay' Ban, While Another Targets Trans Students

John Fillmore and Sylvia Allen
Arizona legislators John Fillmore and Sylvia Allen

One politician ends her effort to ban any mention of homosexuality in sex education, while another tries to enforce pronoun usage.

An Arizona state senator has backed off on a plan to ban any mention of homosexuality in sex education courses in public schools, but there's still plenty of anti-LGBTQ legislation pending in the state.

State Sen. Sylvia Allen had filed the bill to prohibit this language, and strike references to homosexuality from state statutes defining sexual conduct, and ban any sex education for students before seventh grade. But she announced Thursday that she will amend the legislation to remove the antigay language, without explaining why such language had been there in the first place.

The Republican lawmaker, who lives in the town of Snowflake, said the bill had been misinterpreted, Phoenix TV station KPNX reports.

"Several news outlets have reported that my bill to provide parents more access and information on sexual education courses also prohibits the inclusion of homosexuality as part of any chosen curricula," Allen said in a prepared statement. "They are misinterpreting the language. That was absolutely not my intention. I regret that it has diverted attention from the main goal of the bill, which is to assist parents with more access and transparency, so that they could make informed decisions about the health and welfare of their children.

"I will post an amendment today that removes the provision that has raised concerns. With this clarification, I aim to return the conversation on this bill back to my original intent - to provide meaningful opportunities for parents to engage and be contributory on this very important issue."

The bill is already scheduled for a Tuesday hearing in the Senate Education Committee, which Allen chairs. Many conservatives in Arizona have been raising objections to comprehensive sex education.

And other Republicans are aiming to regulate recognition of LGBTQ existence in the Grand Canyon State.

State Rep. John Fillmore has filed legislation targeting transgender and nonbinary people by requiring any public school employee, when dealing with pupils, to only use pronouns that correspond "to the sex listed on that student's birth certificate," according to the Arizona Mirror.

The bill suggests any public employee who refuses to adhere to this new regulation would be subject to punishment, but the legislation as written does not lay any specific penalties out.

The legislation comes after an art teacher at a private school in Arizona was fired last year for refusing to use a transgender student's preferred pronoun, as reported by Metro Weekly.

"This bill will only exacerbate the already hostile climate we already have," Madelaine Adelman, a cofounder of the Phoenix chapter of GLSEN, told the Tucson Sentinel. "The lack of safe educational learning environments is setting [trans and nonbinary students] up for failure."

Fillmore has also prepared two other bills regarding gender identity, aimed at assuring that birth certificates and other state documents recognize only male or female genders.

Additional reporting by Trudy Ring

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