From book bans to ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, LGBTQ kids feel ‘erased’ in the classroom

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02/20/2022

Students have repeatedly vandalized Pride posters at Spencer Lyst’s high school in Williamson County, Tennessee. Teachers have skipped over LGBTQ issues in class textbooks. Trans kids in his state have been legally barred from competing on school sports teams that align with their gender identity. Parents have called on school officials to remove books about sexual orientation and gender identity from the county’s elementary curriculum. And while leading his school’s Pride club at a September homecoming parade, Lyst and other LGBTQ students were booed by a group of parents. “I’m so used to it, but it shouldn’t be something I have to think about,” Lyst, 16, said of the near-constant feeling of being attacked at school because of his identity. He even said it’s “difficult” to walk into the school bathroom for fear of what or who “might be in there.” “Like, can I go to the bathroom or am I going to get hate for just existing?” he said. Lyst’s school experience is a far cry from an isolated case.

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