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New bill HB 1608 creates issues for LGBTQ+ students, attendance complicated for teachers

New+bill+HB+1608+creates+issues+for+LGBTQ%2B+students%2C+attendance+complicated+for+teachers

Now that we are past the first two weeks of school, name introductions and icebreakers are over. However, taking attendance has been a little more complicated for students and teachers this year. On Nov. 4,  Gov. Eric Holcomb signed House Bill 1608: this law took effect July 1. The bill requires parents now to notify the school their child attends if their child  goes by a name and/or pronoun that is different from their legal name or pronouns. The intent of this bill is obvious. Despite whether law makers will admit it or not, the purpose of this bill is to target members of the LGBTQ+ community who go by different names or pronouns. 

HB 1608 takes away school as a safe place for LGBTQ+ people and force them to identify as someone they are not. For many LGBTQ+ people, school is a safe place from home where they can be themselves. Home for some is a place where LGBTQ+ peoples’ preferred names or pronouns not respected by their guardians and they are forced to identify as someone they are not. Worse, some parents are completely against the LGBTQ+ community and may force their children to leave if they come out. According to a study by Lesley University, 25% of teens that come out to their parents are forced to leave their homes. The study also states that 40% of homeless children in the United States are part of the LBGTQ+ community. 

The bill has also added undue extra work on teachers and students alike. Names like Maddie or Alex are generally part of longer names such as Madalyn or Alexander. Now, thanks to HB 1608, if someone has been going by Maddie their whole lives despite their name being Madalyn, the teachers must refer to that student as Madalyn. Additionally, people who have abbreviated names such as “AJ” or “JT” would be forced to either have the school change that students name to the abbreviated name or be called by their much longer legal names. For example, someone who goes by AJ would have to be called Aaron James by their teachers. 

Overall, the underlying motive behind HB 1608  and LGBTQ+ advocates fear this is just the beginning. As these types of bills pass throughout the nation, fear and tension grows in the LGBTQ+ community. But young people are not without options. For starters young people need to register and start voting in local and national elections. According to Statista, only 49.1% of people ages 18 to 24 are registered to vote, comparing that to the 76.6% people ages 75+ who are registered to vote. Young people need to start voicing their opinions in elections and overturn this wave of hate in the United States.

The views in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of the HiLite staff. Reach Ethan Blastick at [email protected]

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