AUSTIN (KXAN) — On Tuesday, 33 House Republicans, including five Texas representatives, introduced legislation to ban the use of Federal funds for “sexually-oriented” material. It likely would not pass considering the current political makeup of the House of Representatives, but some critics of the document call it a federal “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
“Stop the Sexualization of Children Act“
“The Democrat Party and their cultural allies are on a misguided crusade to immerse young children in sexual imagery and radical gender ideology,” said Rep. Mike Johnson, R-Louisiana.
The bill, called the “Stop the Sexualization of Children Act,” would prohibit the allocation of federal funds to programs, events and literature for children under the age of 10 that contains “sexually oriented” material. For events, the bill specifically takes aim at drag entertainment, such as drag queen story hours, at federally funded institutions, including museums and libraries.
Their definition of “sexually oriented” is broad – it lumps themes of sexual orientation and gender identity along with sexually explicit material.
The bill also has a section that says that parents or legal guardians may pursue legal action if they believe their child has been exposed to “sexually-oriented material’ that had been funded in whole or in part by Federal money.
“This commonsense bill is straightforward. No federal tax dollars should go to any federal, state, or local government agencies, or private organizations that intentionally expose children under 10 years of age to sexually explicit material,” said Johnson in the press release.
Texas’ transgender community responds
“One of the things that this bill does is it creates a threat of loss of funding to wide swaths of our society, from hospitals to schools to libraries,” said Reverend Remington Johnson, an ordained Presbyterian minister and activist in Austin. “It creates fear and an unwelcoming atmosphere for LGBTQ-plus people across the country. And it creates fear and penalty for the organizations and the allies that would support us.”
“If the Republican Party says, ‘we want to make it illegal to be a trans person around children, we want to make it dangerous for trans people to be in the public square, we want to make it dangerous for trans parents to take their children to the park.’ We need to take that seriously because they’re telling us what they believe and what they want to do,” Remington said.
Masha Dina, a transgender woman and activist, said this type of legislation would have big implications for her life. Dina’s wife is a teacher.
“I can’t even go out with her in the community because she’s terrified of a colleague recognizing us and then spreading rumors that her spouse is trans and getting fired,” Dina said.
Dina works for PFLAG, an organization dedicated to supporting and advocating for LGBTQ+ people and their families. She sometimes facilitates support groups, where parents bring their LGBTQ+ children who want to be around kids who share similar experiences.
Though, PFLAG is not a federally funded program, “It also makes me think about people like me,” she said. “It’s all part of the rhetoric that, you know, LGBT people are groomers. I mean, please. Nothing could be further from the truth.”