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In yet another public display against parental rights and keeping parents informed about what their children are learning in schools, LGBT activists are condemning the passage of a new Oklahoma bill they claim would “out” LGBT children. Activists have positioned the argument once again as LGBT children against their own parents. LGBTQ Nation’s headline states: “Oklahoma bill that could require school counselors to out students advances,”
The bill, SB615, has been hotly debated, with even Republican representatives suggesting its potential “harm.” Republican state Sen, Brenda Stanley argued, “My concern is that we do not break that confidentiality agreement that we have with children.”
Republican state Sen. Casey Murdock agreed, saying, “So, you do not see that it may stifle a 15- to 16-year-old that may have some questions and they may have some issues they want to talk to somebody about. Now they won’t because they don’t want their parents where they are at. Are you concerned about that?”
LGBT activists have gone farther, alleging the bill will endanger the lives of LGBT students if their parents are told of their sexual orientation or gender identity. However, supporters argue the bill aligns with state law and is designed to balance the needs of both students and parents.
Oklahoma state law requires teachers and administrators to disclose materials on sexual education to parents. Republican state Sen. David Bullard argues that some schools have gotten around this requirement by having school counselors provide the materials instead, as they are not required to inform parents.
Bullard has clarified that the bill does not break confidentiality between students and counselors: “If the student comes in, voluntarily talks to the counselor about whatever they are struggling with, then that is a discussion between the counselor and the student. It’s when they bring them in to elicit a response and they hand them a material of some kind, [that] they have to have it open for [parents].”
Essentially, the bill ensures that school counselors do not encourage discussion of sexual or gender identity or provide supportive materials without informing parents.
I Was Outed As a Teen
The argument that this may “out” LGBT students to their parents in the process and this outing is inherently harmful, however, is an assumption that must be challenged. In 1998, my school outed me to my parents. I was 16 and I was mortified by the experience.
My father was called into the school with school officials and counselors. The principal brought up the fact that several teachers had expressed concern about my recent behavior and mood and that other students had told them I was telling people I was gay.
Of course, there was more to the story than culturally insensitive educators overreacting to my revelation. I had been engaging in dangerous sexual experiences with adults, had recently begun exploring all aspects of gay culture and identity online and in books, and had fallen into an emotional mess of anxiety, depression, and acting out.
I gave my teachers good reason to be concerned. My grades had slipped dramatically, I was skipping school, and I was having emotional outbursts in class.
My father was confused, concerned, upset, and frightened by the revelation, although he later admitted he suspected it for quite some time. He began limiting my online activities and started to watch me more carefully, limiting my opportunities to sneak out late at night.
I certainly felt it was unfair and a hateful and intolerant reaction to being gay, but looking back now, it was absolutely the right thing for him to do. Keeping that secret nearly destroyed my academic career. I barely graduated high school.
My sexual interactions with adults put me in constant danger and devastated my sense of worth. Gay media did nothing but promise a brighter future once I escaped my parents who would never understand me. It was the perfect storm for tragedy.
LGBT Activists’ Wrong Approach
More than 20 years later, LGBT activists are still playing by the same rules, isolating teenagers, and now children, from their families and creating an environment of distrust and fear of their parents. Their message seems to be that LGBT minors can only trust adults who are not their parents to properly accept and educate them.
They argue that LGBT minors require special education, exclusive clubs, secretive identities, and to socialize with only other LGBT people. While all of this is promoted in the name of protecting LGBT minors from an alleged hateful and dangerous world of people who will never accept them, all it is doing is more and more harm.
There is simply no reason a school official should provide materials to a student without a parent’s knowledge. All scenarios in which a student may be in physical danger from his or her parents are already covered under the law, and school officials are required to inform authorities of concerns. While LGBT activists pretend that LGBT identity is a private experience for students to manage on their own, the facts tell us something very different.
LGBT Youth Are at Risk
The Centers for Disease Control has long recorded the fact that LGBT identity places a minor at significant risk for a multitude of dangers. More than 20 percent of LGBT minors report physical and sexual violence, including rape, from sexual partners.
LGBT youth are at a much higher risk for drug and alcohol abuse, HIV, and other sexually transmitted diseases. They are also at a much higher risk of severe mental illness. While this has been positioned as evidence of the effects of anti-LGBT attitudes and discrimination, the numbers remain steady despite dramatic improvements in LGBT acceptance and representation.
The reality is, LGBT adult lifestyles reflect these statistics, and have for decades. LGBT culture is progressive and designed to exemplify sexuality and diminish personal responsibility. When LGBT youth are guided to LGBT adults for affirmation rather than their parents, they find themselves introduced to a world of excess and adult activities they simply are not prepared for. The longer they hide this from their parents, the more likely they will experience negative consequences.
LGBT minors need their parents, and they need limitations, rules, and guidance; not unconditional acceptance and affirmation of their identities. Their parents need to know everything that is going on in their lives.
It is also simply not the business or responsibility of any outside person to dictate how parents manage and protect their own children. LGBT activists certainly think their preferred path is best, but they do not own LGBT youth and it is not their job to intervene.
Parents must have the legally recognized right to complete transparency in their children’s education and school experiences. Parents must be trusted to raise their own children, and their decisions must be respected. Our elected leaders must recognize this and our laws must fully support these rights. They are not optional.
Chad Felix Greene is a senior contributor to The Federalist. He is the author of the “Reasonably Gay: Essays and Arguments” series and is a social writer focusing on truth in media, conservative ideas and goals, and true equality under the law. You can follow him on Twitter @chadfelixg.