Baton Rouge, LA (KPEL News) - He. She. They. Once upon a time, the question about which pronoun to use when referring to someone didn't cross anyone's mind. Fast forward to 2024, and linguistic confusion ensues.

The Louisiana Legislature is considering at least two bills regarding how students in public schools can or cannot be addressed, and both gender identity measures are advancing toward the Governor's desk.

Louisiana is a culturally diverse state, and you'll find people who fall on either side of the gender identity debate scattered about. May 2024 statistics from the Louisiana Secretary of State's Office indicate that voters who registered Democrat outnumber registered Republicans by a narrow margin, 1,134,901 to 1,021,323. However, nearly as many voters either are not affiliated with a party or have chosen a minor party affiliation.

Someone wearing red sneakers choosing between genders
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That said, Louisiana's top seat and a majority of the Legislature are conservative Republicans. The right has made no bones about its displeasure with allowing gender conversation in the classroom. As a matter of fact, Louisiana has joined other states in suing the Biden Administration over new Title IX rules that Republicans say could lead to transgender females, who are anatomically males, sharing restrooms and locker rooms with biological girls.

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Republicans have called the issue "radical gender ideology," and the majority of Louisiana lawmakers want to quash any talk about it in schools. House Bills 121 and 122 have been approved in the House and have made their way through a Louisiana Senate committee.

HB 121, authored by Bossier Parish Representative Raymond Crews:

... prohibits a school employee from knowingly and intentionally addressing a student by a name other than the student's legal name, or a derivative thereof, unless granted written permission by parents to do otherwise.

The bill includes other provisions and amendments but, at its core, the legislation aims to keep gender identity and concerns out of the schools.

HB 122, authored by Representative Dodie Horton, also of Bossier:

... prohibits a public school teacher, employee, or other presenter at a school from doing any of the following in grades kindergarten through 12:

(1) Incorporating into classroom instruction or discussion topics of sexual orientation or gender identity in a manner that deviates from state content standards or curricula developed or approved by the public school governing authority.

(2) Covering the topics of sexual orientation or gender identity during any extracurricular activity.

(3) Discussing his personal sexual orientation or gender identity.

As with HB 121, Horton's legislation seeks to keep the gender identity discussions out of Louisiana's public schools.

Both bills received approval from the House of Representatives, along party lines. They have made their way through the Senate Education Committee, with the sole objection of the only Democrat at the meeting.

The measures now advance to the Senate Chamber for consideration.

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