Chicago — A process that would out transgender students to their parents is being implemented by a Florida school district.
In the Lee County School District, trans students who want to be addressed by their preferred name and pronouns will have to fill out a form with a school counselor, according to Yahoo News. If the form, also called the gender support plan, is not completed, teachers and staff will identify the students by their gender assigned at birth.
The move has raised concerns about civil rights advocates and parents.
“I understand the parents want to be involved in the child’s schoolwork. But this is not schoolwork. This is a personal life,” said Arlene Goldberg, cofounder of Visuality. Having the parents sign the form “means a child has to come out at home, and they may not be ready to do that.”
Officials say the intention of the procedure is to support the students and comply with state law, HB 1557, the “Don’t Say Gay” law. The law restricts classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in addition to calling on districts to adopt procedures to address parental concerns about pronoun use.
The American Civil Liberties Union’s Florida affiliate issued a statement about the law, which went into effect July 1, noting it “has already begun to stigmatize LGBTQ+ people, isolate LGBTQ+ kids, and make teachers fearful of providing a welcoming and inclusive classroom.”
“Without adequate guidelines from the school board on how this personal information will be used in schools, it is uncertain whether these forms could potentially serve as another way to isolate and harm transgender youth,” according to the ACLU.