AUSTIN (KXAN) — Two Texas bills filed ahead of the 88th legislative session would ban topics of sexual orientation and gender identity from being discussed in the classroom, with one up until high school. The two bills mirror the controversial Florida law — which opponents dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill– that bans discussion on the topics from kindergarten through third grade.

HB 631, filed by House Rep. Steve Toth (R-The Woodlands), said discussions on sexual orientation and gender identity aren’t allowed in the classroom from kindergarten through fifth grade. Meanwhile, HB 1155, filed by House Rep. Jared Patterson (R-Frisco), would restrict discussion of these topics from kindergarten through eighth grade. 

“When a parent wants to discuss sexuality with their child, that is their role,” Toth told KXAN. “It is not the role of public schools.” 

“Do we talk about the history of heterosexuality? No. Just leave sex out of it,” he continued. 

Both bills also direct teachers to notify parents if there are changes to their child’s mental health and to seek parental approval before enrolling them in any type of therapy at school. 

“We’ve got stories from teachers in my own school district where they have said a child is experiencing gender dysphoria (and) mom and dad were not notified by the school district,” Toth said. 

Some Texas LGBTQ+ groups tracking these bills call them “discriminatory” and said teachers should be allowed to craft age-appropriate material about sexual orientation and gender. 

“I don’t understand why anyone would want to treat something so ordinary like it is taboo. There’s nothing PG-13 about the lives of LGBTQ Texans,” said Johnathan Gooch, communications director of Equality Texas. 

Gooch said these these two bills more extreme than the Florida law in that they go even further.

“These bills ban that discussion up to fifth grade and even up to eighth grade. And that’s a time when young people are really starting to come into their own and wrestle with their own identities,” Gooch said.  “ I think it’s especially important for LGBTQ young people to be able to have healthy conversations with their teachers and their classmates about what being LGBTQ looks like.”

“Parents want their kids to learn to treat others with dignity and respect. So it’s important that they be exposed to these ideas and understand that different people’s families will look differently,” Gooch continued.