Controversy Surrounds Ballot Measure 142: Outing Trans Students to Parents

Colorado’s Supreme Court has given the go-ahead to an anti-LGBTQ+ group to push forward with a proposed law requiring schools to share information about transgender students with their parents. This group, known as the Colorado Parent Advocacy Network (CPAN), is aiming to collect enough signatures to put Ballot Measure 142 on the November general election ballot.

The motivation behind this proposed law stems from CPAN’s belief that schools are pushing a “radical agenda” and exploiting children by educating them about explicit sexual content and providing gender-affirming care.

CPAN argues that informing parents about a student’s gender incongruence — when a child identifies with a gender different from their assigned one at birth — is actually supportive of LGBTQ+ children.

Lori Gimelshteyn, CPAN’s executive director, stressed the measure’s purported supportiveness, stating that it’s intended to aid LGBTQ+ youth. She played a part in crafting the initiative, which mandates that public school representatives notify parents within 48 hours if a child is experiencing gender incongruence.

However, Mardi Moore, executive director of Out Boulder County, a local LGBTQ+ advocacy organization, criticized the initiative as anti-LGBTQ. Moore questioned the necessity of meddling in the lives of individuals who are different and highlighted the discriminatory nature of the proposal.

Colorado allows anti-LGBTQ+ group to pursue law outing trans students to parents

Similar policies have been implemented by conservative school boards across the nation, including in California, New Jersey, Florida, and Indiana. These policies require school officials to disclose information about LGBTQ+ students to their parents, even without the students’ consent.

Supporters argue that such measures prevent schools from covertly influencing students to change genders without their parents’ knowledge and uphold parents’ right to be informed about their child’s gender questioning.

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On the flip side, opponents argue that these policies violate the privacy of transgender students and burden teachers with added responsibilities, potentially harming student-teacher relationships.

They also express concerns about these policies infringing on state constitutional protections and medical experts emphasizing that transgender and non-binary youth don’t transition due to peer or adult pressure.

A 2022 survey by The Trevor Project revealed that only 32% of transgender and nonbinary youths felt supported and affirmed in their homes. This statistic underscores the importance of establishing safe and inclusive environments for LGBTQ+ youth, rather than enacting policies that could further marginalize them.

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