In Arizona, Democratic Governor Katie Hobbs has vetoed a proposal passed by Republicans in the state legislature that would have largely blocked the use in schools of personal pronouns other than those corresponding to an individual’s sex assigned at birth.
The effect would have basically been erasing transgender people from the conversation, or at least trying to. Even knowingly referring to a minor student by a pronoun other than the one connected to their birth sex would have been blocked without a parent’s written permission, which for many students with either unsupportive or outright hostile parents would have obviously made the prospect of acknowledging their gender identity in school inaccessible. All-encompassing policies without an exception for religious objections that mandated the usage of accurate personal pronouns were also blocked under the language of the bill, meaning schools specifically couldn’t force correct acknowledgements of gender identity, though Republicans often don’t acknowledge the validity of such identities.
“As politicians across the country continue to pass harmful legislation directed at transgender youth, I have a clear message to the people of Arizona: I will veto every bill that aims to attack and harm children,” Hobbs said in a letter formally announcing her decision.
She won her present term last year by a very thin margin over Republican candidate Kari Lake, who recently lost yet again in the court challenge she was somehow still waging over her defeat.
Elsewhere, Florida GOP Governor Ron DeSantis recently signed legislation of the same sort that Hobbs vetoed. The Republican bill in Florida similarly blocks policies in schools mandating that accurate personal pronouns be used, particularly in such situations where the pronouns might differ from a person’s birth sex. It also prohibited teachers from providing their personal pronouns, should they similarly differ, to students at all. The whole initiative builds on the idea of “Don’t Say Gay,” which is what opponents nicknamed a GOP effort to largely block classroom discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity in Florida public schools. Outside the legislature, state administrators in Florida have expanded the implementation of those restrictions to cover all grades.
Image: Gage Skidmore/ Creative Commons