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This week read about Oregon banning the "LGBTQ Panic Defense" bill to protect the LGBT community, and Alabama revising the state's sex education curriculum to empower LGBT youth.

Alabama Overhauls Sex Education Curriculum

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has officially signed off on major revisions to the state’s sex education curriculum, updating information to reflect today’s advancements in medicine, and human rights.

HB 385, sponsored by Rep. Laura Hall (D-Huntsville), removes requirements that teachers emphasize “that homosexuality is not a lifestyle acceptable to the general public and that homosexual conduct is a criminal offense under the laws of the state.”

The bill also requires that information regarding health and sexually transmitted infections is medically accurate, and mandates that parents are given “advanced, written notification of the teaching of any sex education or of the human reproductive process.”

Southern Poverty Law Center Action Fund Regional Policy Director Shay Farley wrote in a statement, “With these changes, we’re encouraged that all youth, regardless of their sexual orientation, will receive an education that empowers them to make healthy, informed decisions about their relationships and their bodies.”

In late April, Ivey signed a bill banning transgender girls from playing on sports teams that affirm their gender identity. One of the last bills in Alabama’s legislative session is HB 1, which would penalize doctors who provide puberty blockers or hormone treatments to minors with fines up to $15,000.

Oregon to Ban LGBT ‘Panic Defense’

Oregon

Photo via PxHere.

The Oregon House of Representatives voted 54-0 to ban what is known as the “LGBTQ Panic Defense” in state court proceedings.

In submitted testimony, Oregon Department of Justice Legislative Director Kimberly McCullough wrote, “The data that we have collected from our Bias Response Hotline points to a startling presence of anti-LGBTQ bias crimes and incidents throughout Oregon. Since January 2020, there have been 287 reports of bias crimes or incidents perpetrated against LGBTQ community members.”

The bill, SB 704, doesn’t name any specific victims, but lawmakers cited the 2020 murder of Aja Raquell Rhone-Spears in Portland as yet another reason to protect the trans community.

Executive Director of Basic Rights Oregon Nancy Haque wrote in a statement, “This bill is a simple but impactful act of clarity that’s important for supporting and protecting our LGBTQ community.”

The bill is currently headed to the desk of Gov. Kate Brown, America’s first openly bisexual governor. Once signed, Oregon will become the 14th state to ban the panic defense.


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