Here is what a bill should look like
2022 Spring Program Best Bill
State YMCA of Maine
YOUTH AND GOVERNMENT
BILL # LD2022--215
Bill Sponsor: Grace Kelso
School / Club / YMCA: Erskine Academy
Endorsed By: Kelly Clark
Referred to the committee on: Education
An Act Relating To:
The Safe Schools Act
Be it enacted by the State YMCA of Maine’s 2022 Youth and Government Program as follows:
STATEMENT OF FACT:
LGBTQ youth are 1.5-3 times more likely to report suicidal ideation and 1.5-7 times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers because of increased risk of stigma, prejudice and discrimination from their family, peers and society at large. LGBTQ students face frequent victimization, including bullying, harassment and violence, at 4 times the rate of their non-gay peers (Bontempo & D’Augelli, 2002). A report from GLAAD said that increased knowledge about the LGBT people reduces anti-LGBT discrimination. An important way of being educated on these issues is through media such as literature and movies. Some states have taken action to ban books in schools that deal with LGBTQ topics. However, according to a Courier Newsroom/Data for Progress survey, 84% of Mainers agreed with the statement "state lawmakers banning books at schools is a form of censorship and goes against American values of freedom of speech and expression." Therefore, banning books because they mention LGBTQ topics goes against American, and Maine values.
Many LGBTQ youth chose not to “come out” to their parents because they fear they won’t be accepted: 26% of homeless LGBTQ youth report being forced out of their homes solely because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Coming out is a very big decision and school’s should not be able to make that decision for someone.
Participating in school sports has shown to have incredible benefits for students. Not only does it get students active and healthy, but it creates a community and support system for students. Team sports teach valuable life lessons and help combat depression and anxiety. Transgender student’s deserve to experience the benefits of team sports just as much as any other student. Transgender athletes have been able to participate at the Olympics, on NCAA teams, and many other major sport organizations, yet schools still discriminate against them.
School is supposed to be a place where students are able to learn in a secure environment, where they are not discriminated against or threatened because of their identities. One group that has continued to be discriminated against in schools is the LGBTQ community. In other states we have seen legislation being passed that has punished LGBTQ kids for being who they are, and putting them in danger. Maine should step up as a state and show that we support LGBTQ youth, and ensure that they are not discriminated against in schools in our state. We can do this by ensuring that teachers and students are able to teach and talk about LGBTQ-related subjects, whether that comes up in classroom discussion, books, or movies. Students with parents of the same sex should be able to talk about their families, and shouldn’t be shamed for it. Children will not “turn gay” from learning about the LGBTQ community, but they will learn that it’s okay to be yourself and accepting of other people. To keep students safe, if schools are made aware of a student’s gender identity or sexual orientation, the school should not disclose this information to the student’s parents or guardians unless given consent from the student. Many LGBTQ youth decide not to come out to their parents in fear of rejection or being kicked out of their homes, and a school should not be able to make that decision for them. Lastly, school sports benefit students’ physical and mental health, and teach students valuable life lessons. Transgender students should be able to enjoy the benefits of being on a team sport that correlates with their gender identity, just as any cisgender student can.
This bill should not cost any money to the State of Maine
The purpose of this bill is to create a safe environment for LGBTQ students in Maine schools by ensuring that LGBTQ topics are not banned in school, students’ identities and orientations are secure, and transgender students are not discriminated against on school sports teams based on their gender identity.