This week read about a Virginia governor signing a bill that bans the LGBT "panic" defense, and Tennessee lawmakers attempting to prohibit LGBT materials in schools via a bill.
Virginia Bans LGBTQ+ Panic Defense
On Transgender Day of Visibility, Gov. Ralph Northam (D) signed a bill into law that officially bans the LGBTQ+ “panic” defense.
The tactic has been used in legal proceedings to justify crimes against LGBT individuals by blaming victims for their attacker’s actions. Judy Shepard, who lost her son Matthew to anti-LGBT violence in 1998, provided testimony to support the ban.
Including Virginia, 12 states have banned the “panic” defense and 13 more states have had similar legislation introduced. The Maryland House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill that supports the ban in March.
Democratic Delegate Danica Roem, the first out and seated transgender state legislator in the U.S., authored the bill and celebrated its passage on Twitter.
“Thank you to my team, the advocates who testified, my colleagues who voted for it and my 15-year-old out student constituent in Manassas Park who requested it,” Roem wrote.
Anti-LGBT Education Bill Advances in State Legislature
Photo via Pixabay.
Tennessee lawmakers pushed a bill forward that prohibits the use of instructional materials “that promote, normalize, support, or address lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender issues or lifestyles” through the education instruction subcommittee by a 6-3 vote last week.
The bill, HB 800, is one of a pair of separate bills seeking to limit LGBT education in public and charter schools. HB 529, passed by the Senate education subcommittee in February, mandates that the school must notify parents 30 days before instruction of “a sexual orientation curriculum or gender identity curriculum.”
Under HB 800, basic LGBT history and figures like James Baldwin and Marsha P. Johnson would be removed from the curriculum. The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee wrote in a statement, “This bill seeks to erase the advancements of the LGBTQ community from our children’s education and sends a dangerous message to LGBTQ children in Tennessee that they do not belong.”
If the bill is passed by the state legislature, it could go into effect as early as the 2021-22 school year in August.