The message they are sending: You are different from our children and that makes you unworthy of inclusion. Your experiences as a Black child, as a Latino child, as a transgender child, as a victim of sexual assault, as a gay child will not be represented in the books you can read or in the classroom discussions you can have. The history and cultural forces that created your invisibility will be unexamined. Your concerns, your fears will be unheard. You will be unseen.
The Legislature deplores school bullying, yet lawmakers are willing to bully countless children for political ends. Why would Kemp and GOP leaders in the House and Senate deliberately endorse laws that will make being a transgender adolescent even harder?
It’s already too hard. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System found that 29% of transgender high school students attempted suicide in the previous 12 months, compared to 7% of cisgender youths. The survey revealed that 21% of gay and lesbian and 22% of bisexual youths attempted suicide, compared to 7% of straight teens.
Rather than reaching out to help these kids stay afloat, Georgia lawmakers are setting them adrift.
At a hearing last year, the mother of a transgender seventh grader pleaded with lawmakers to consider her daughter’s safety and well-being. “Pulling her from this team of her cherished community and sending her to play with the boys would be nothing short of traumatic and cruel,” said the mother.
As a parent, Kemp has every right to want his daughters protected and treated with dignity and respect. As a governor, he has the responsibility to ensure every Georgia child is protected and respected.