Tennessee lawmakers are continuing their push to be the most anti-LGBTQ legislative body in the nation. Republican state Rep. Bruce Giffey (R) has now introduced a bill that would ban public schools from using books that mention LGBTQ people. H.B. 800 would ensure “public charter schools shall not locally adopt or use in the public schools of this state, textbooks and instructional materials or supplemental instructional materials that promote, normalize, support, or address lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, or transgender issues or lifestyle,” according to the text of the proposed law. The bill says that mentioning LGBTQ people “offends a significant portion of students, parents, and Tennessee residents with Christian values.” The Education Instruction Subcommittee had the first hearings today. If signed into law, it would go into effect during the next school year. Just this year, the state has passed bills that would allow adoption agencies to discriminate against LGBTQ parents, ban transgender youth from playing school sports, and another bill under consideration would make the Bible the state’s official book.
Texas Baylor University and other Christian colleges are coming under fire for a new study survey that shows widespread harassment of students that identify as LGBTQ. A new study and survey by the Religious Exemption Accountability Project found LGBTQ students at Christian colleges face more bullying and harassment and are far more likely to experience isolation, depression and harm than their straight classmates. REAP, is an organization that advocates for LGBTQ students at taxpayer-funded religious colleges and universities. Gender-nonconforming students are particularly at risk, the researchers found: Twenty-two percent reported bullying or harassment, compared to 5 percent of cisgender students. Fourteen percent reported being sexually assaulted, compared to 2 percent of their cisgender peers. In all, queer students were three times more likely to report depression and anxiety and three times more likely to have seriously considered suicide, according to the report. More than 1 in 10 (12 percent) also reported that their school suggested they receive counseling, suggested or mandated that they undergo “conversion therapy,” revoked their financial aid or scholarships or took other actions against them as a result of their sexual orientation or gender identity. According to REAP, one-third of the more than 2,000 four-year undergraduate institutions in the United States are religiously affiliated, including more than 200 Christian colleges with policies that explicitly discriminate against LGBTQ students.
A group of students at Brigham Young University iconically lit up the schools famed Y in rainbow colours. The demonstration took place for one hour and was done in an effort for LGBTQ+ acceptance, recognition. About 40 LGBTQ+ students from the student organisation Color The Campus participated in the lighting. Bradley Talbot, the LGBTQ+ student who organized the demonstration, told Salt Lake Tribune that he wanted to send a message to the school.
“We’re here, and we are part of this institution. We should have a place at the Y.” Sparks of change and acceptance were seen last month after the university removed a longstanding rule that banned “all forms of physical intimacy that give expression to homosexual feelings.”. But three weeks after LGBTQ+ students celebrated the overdue change, school officials took away any semblance of acceptance, stating that same-sex relationships were “not compatible” with BYU rules and regulations. Talbot said “That day felt like a betrayal for a lot of LGBT students. It was traumatic. So this was a day for us to reclaim that and try to turn it into something positive.” Since the lighting of the Y, BYU has released a statement denouncing the event via their Twitter account. “BYU did not authorize the lighting of the Y tonight. The Y is BYU property and any form of public expression on university property requires prior approval.” Color The Campus took to Twitter to express the reasoning and importance behind the event stating “This is our symbol of love and unity with BYU. The Cougars are Out. We stand with both. It’s not black and white, it’s Rainbow. I choose both. The world is our campus. I invite BYU to choose to be our advocate and not our obstacle. It won’t stop us either way. Hate is loud. We are louder.”
The Common App — the application used by over 900 colleges and universities nationwide — announced revisions yesterday aimed at creating a more inclusive space for LGBTQ+ people, specifically transgender and nonbinary applicants. Beginning in August, the Common App will ask for applicants’ “legal sex” instead of “sex” with the intent of “reducing student confusion.” Additionally, the Common App will add the option to identify one or more pronoun sets or add their own; before, applicants could not select their pronouns and had an optional text box to further describe their gender identity. Jenny Rickard, President and CEO of the Common App said “What I really hope that it will provide is really an affirmation for students that their background is unique and that they have a space to not only be acknowledged for who they are but also to be able to express themselves. We hope that this will eliminate any potential barriers that stand in the way of anyone applying to college and ensure every student has a pathway to economic mobility and success.” This change is one of many the Common App has implemented in the last year. Since March, Rickard’s team has been working on tweaking the application with LGBTQ student input. The application portal has also made changes to questions regarding citizenship, religion, school discipline, military history and family background that will be implemented in August as well.
At Queer News Tonight we have told so many coming out stories. This one is unique. A headmaster at an exclusive private school in the United Kingdom is believed to have made history this week when he came out to students and faculty at the start of the school’s LGBTQ week. Nicholas Hewlett made the revelation to his students at St. Dunstan’s College in Catford, southeast London, during a virtual assembly Monday, according to The Times. Hewlet said after the reveal “My only regret is not doing it earlier, because seven years of children will have gone through the school without the benefit of a role model. 15 years ago, I was told by a senior colleague in the independent school I was then working in that, as an openly gay man, it would be virtually impossible for me to become a headmaster” The 41-year-old Hewlett, who has been happily married to Alberic Elsom, the director of music at the Whitgift School in Croydon, since 2014, received messages of support from students, parents, and the faculty and a very positive community response.