State lawmakers gave final approval on May 15, 2023 to forbidding teachers from calling students by a pronoun that does not match their biological sex. And they voted to require schools to create “reasonable accommodations” — meaning a third choice — for any student who will not use a restroom designated for his or her sex. || Deposit Photos
Capitol Media Services
State lawmakers gave final approval Monday to forbidding teachers from calling students by a pronoun that does not match their biological sex.
And they voted to require schools to create “reasonable accommodations” — meaning a third choice — for any student who will not use a restroom designated for his or her sex.
Both bills, having already been approved by the Senate, now go to Gov. Katie Hobbs, who may veto them.
The party line votes by the House, with all Republicans in favor, came despite pleas from Democrat lawmakers who asked colleagues to consider the effects.
“I would like to ask that you open yourself to some understanding,” said Rep. Lorena Austin, D-Mesa, who described herself as the first “nonbinary, gender nonconforming representative.” And she said none of the Republican lawmakers has even bothered to speak to her about the measure limiting the actions of teachers.
“I can tell you as a young person, if this bill had come through when I was in high school, it would have terrified me,” Austin said. “I was already terrified of knowing that I would not be accepted in the society as such.”
She called SB 1001 “performative politics” with no real need or purpose.
No one spoke in favor.
The measure was crafted by Sen. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills. He called it an issue of parental rights, saying it ensures that parents know if their children are identifying themselves by a gender other than the one they were assigned at birth.
And to back that up, the measure creates an exception if parents give the go-ahead for a teacher or school staffer to use a different pronoun.
That, however, isn’t entirely true. A provision in SB 1001 allows a teacher’s own personal religious beliefs to override a parent’s wishes.
Austin said lawmakers need to understand the implications of children being unable to be referred to by the gender with which they identify.
“It’s not worth risking one child’s safety,” she said.