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Alabama Lawmakers Advance Bill Expanding Ban on Discussions of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in Schools

On Tuesday, Alabama lawmakers moved forward with legislation aiming to broaden the state’s prohibition on teacher-led talks about sexual orientation and gender identity in public school classrooms.

The bill, endorsed by the House of Representatives with a vote of 74-25, now progresses to the Alabama Senate. Termed by critics as part of the “Don’t Say Gay” wave of laws sweeping the nation, it seeks to extend existing Alabama law, which currently bars such instruction in elementary schools, to encompass discussions up to the eighth grade. Additionally, it would forbid teachers and school staff from displaying Pride flags or similar symbols on school premises.

Critics of the bill argue its necessity and contend that it sends a negative message to LGBTQ+ families, students, and educators, suggesting they are unwelcome in the state.

Presently, Alabama law prohibits teaching and teacher-led conversations about gender identity or sexual orientation in a manner deemed “not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate” from kindergarten through fifth grade. The proposed legislation aims to extend this restriction through sixth, seventh, and eighth grades.

Originally, the bill sought to prolong the ban until the twelfth grade, but following a request from state education officials, it was scaled back.