National News Highlights — May 13, 2022

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Photo by Brendan McDermid / Reuters
Photo by Brendan McDermid / Reuters

California: State lawmakers pledge to protect Trans youth
Reuters reported on May 3 that Democratic lawmakers in 19 states have pledged to introduce legislation to provide legal protections to Trans youth and their families, as a refuge for those displaced by the string of new laws banning gender-affirming care in other states.

California state Sen. Scott Wiener, announcing the earliest coalition efforts by California, New York, and Minnesota, said, "This attack on the very existence of our community is something that we will not accept, and we're going to fight and push back very, very hard."

Wiener sponsored a California bill that would reject out-of-state court judgments that would remove Trans children from their parents, in cases where the parents allow their children to receive gender-affirming care. It would also prohibit compliance with out-of-state subpoenas seeking health records and other information on people who come to California to receive such care. The bill is serving as a template for other states.

Despite a delay due to legislation sessions wrapping up, President and CEO Annise Parker of the LGBTQ Victory Institute said it was an important message for lawmakers to send: "We see you, we hear you, we support you, and we're going to do everything in our power to make you safe."

Florida: Reacher fired for discussion on sexuality, identity
NBC News reported on May 6 that Florida middle school teacher Casey Scott is claiming that she was fired for discussing sexuality with her students. The first-year art teacher said she disclosed to the students that she was pansexual, which sparked a discussion, and students asked if they could create art expressing their own sexualities.

Scott told NBC affiliate WBBH-TV, "A lot of the kids came out to me, like, 'Oh, I'm nonbinary.' And a couple of kids were like, 'Oh, I'm Bi.' One kid said they're Gay."

Soon after Scott posted the students' art, which included Pride flags, on the classroom door, Lee County officials told her to remove the artwork. Even after complying, she said she was sent home and fired over the phone.

Lee County School District told NBC in a statement that Scott was fired for not following "the state-mandated curriculum." The district also shared parent and student complaints about the conversation and the artwork.

Teachers Union president Kevin Daly told WBBH-TV in an interview that the firing was legal. "During that probationary period," he said, "they can let you go without cause."

He went on, "There is kind of a heightened sense of, you know, where is the boundary? What are employees supposed to do, or allowed to do, when a topic comes up in discussion?"