Missouri Senate Committee Will Hear the Most Extreme “Don’t Say Gay” Bill in the United States on February 7

Feb 5, 2023 | Newsroom

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SB 134 expands on Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill by banning faculty, staff, and students from having conversations around sexual orientation and gender identity at all


ST. LOUIS (Feb. 5, 2023) — On Tuesday, February 7, the Missouri Senate Education and Workforce Committee is set to have a public hearing at 8:15 a.m. on Senate Bill 134. PROMO, Missouri’s LGBTQ+ public policy and advocacy organization, calls this piece of legislation the most extreme “Don’t Say Gay” bill to date in the U.S. It prohibits public and charter faculty, staff, and students across all grade levels from having conversations around sexual orientation and gender identity at all including curriculum, mentioning a student’s LGBTQ+ parents, or even discussing bullying or harassment LGBTQ+ students face.

“This bill is written broadly enough that you can’t talk or read about human relationships at all,” said Shira Berkowitz, Sr. Director of Public Policy and Advocacy for PROMO. “The recent ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill that passed in Florida was step one in erasing conversations about gender identity and sexual orientation within grade school curriculum. Missouri is taking the next giant leap by aiming to stop faculty, staff, and students from talking about these and related topics at all.”

The legislation proposed by Senator Mike Moon (R-29) states no public or charter school faculty or staff member may speak with a student about sexual orientation or gender identity unless that person is a licensed therapist and has parental permission. Repercussions could include teachers being unable to discuss any book that involves LGBTQ+ people or characters, the inability to mention LGBTQ+ history, or discussing anything to do with human relationships. Additionally, principals or faculty would be banned from discussing bullying or harassment a student may endure.

“According to recent research from the Williams Institute, 56% of LGBTQ+ parents surveyed have considered moving out of Florida because of the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill that passed last March — 17% have already taken steps to do so,” said Katy Erker-Lynch, Executive Director of PROMO. “Should this legislation pass, I have no doubt families like mine will seriously consider leaving the State of Missouri. I think that’s what the bill sponsor seeks: to instill fear, censor, and to have a chilling effect across education. We need faith, business, civic, and private sector leadership to stand with us in calling out this outrageous bill aiming to silence and deny the existence — the very right to live — of LGBTQ+ Missourians.”

PROMO is expected to host a rally on Tuesday, February 7 tentatively starting at 12:30 p.m. at the Missouri State Capitol steps with expected speakers from PROMO, The Trevor Project, Family Equality, Youth in Need, Show Me KC Schools, and more. The public is invited to attend and show support for LGBTQ+ Missourians. Members of the media are also welcomed and can expect to receive more specific information on the rally on Monday, February 6.


About PROMO:

PROMO is Missouri’s LGBTQ+ policy and advocacy organization that confronts systemic inequities to liberate the full spectrum of the LGBTQ+ community from discrimination and oppression. For more information, visit PROMOonline.org.