Facing Blowback, Sylvia Allen sees the light on the LGBTQ Community; When will John Filmore

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State Rep. John Fillmore and State Sen. Sylvia Allen. Image from The Advocate

With respect to helping the LGBTQ Community in schools, the idea of Power to the People took on added significance last week in Arizona after several months of pitchfork raising by narrow-minded reactionaries in the state.

Last year, reactionary zealots like State Senator Sylvia “Out of the Closet Racist” Allen, State Representative Kelly “Donna Trump” Townsend, and State House Speaker Russell “I attend designated Hate Group Gatherings” Bowers generated controversy. They stirred a mentality of village idiots grabbing torches and pitchforks among their followers by protesting the proposed modernization of sex/health education guidelines at the State Board of Education.

At the local level, like-minded back to the Dark Ages groups like Purple for Parents have been taking similar arguments to school boards in districts like Chandler and Kyrene. At a meeting on January 9, 2020, pro-LGBTQ and sex education forces effectively countered their arguments at the Chandler School Board meeting. Blog for Arizona’s David Boyle has an excellent account of the evening.

Last week, the same Senator Allen and Republican State Representative John Filmore, who is on the House Education Committee, filed proposals that would have, in essence, denied the existence of the LGBTQ Community in the classroom.

Senator Allen’s proposal for sex education (Senate Bill 1082), in its current form, would:

  • Prevent the teaching of age-appropriate sex education until seventh grade.
  • Remove the term homosexuality from any sex education curriculum.
  • Mandate that abstinence is emphasized as the major method to avoid sexual contact.

Is it any wonder that most red states that hold the cultural values that Senator Allen draws from are among the leaders in out-of-wedlock births.

For LGBTQ students who wish to be called a different name or gender that is different from their birth certificate or actual sex,  Rep. Filmore’s House Bill 2082 would give an as yet undetermined penalty to a school if it did not address students by their actual gender or legal birth name.

Both of these ideas are wrong

The idea that legislators should make educators deny the existence of the LGBTQ Community in the classroom is frankly bigoted and asine and should not even get the courtesy of a committee hearing or a vote.

Furthermore, to have sex education commence in seventh grade and emphasize abstinence does not conform to the realities of Twenty-First Century social norms. Frankly, it did not work in the Leave it to Beaver ’50s and 60’s either.

Current State Legislators and candidates for office feel the same way towards the Allen proposal.

Arizona District Two State Representative Daniel Hernandez issued a statement that read:

“As a former school board member and advocate for equipping our children with the tools they need to be successful, I’m deeply concerned with the proposed language of SB1082. In an attempt to push a harmful political agenda, this bill would strip local control from school boards who already work in partnership with families to choose programs and curricula to suit the needs of their local communities. At a time when sexually transmitted infections are on the rise in Arizona, this is not the time to deprive our students of critical knowledge.”

District Three-State Representative Andres Cano also issued a statement, relaying that:

“Age-appropriate sex education is currently handled at the local school district level— and the law already makes it optional for parents and students. We should not get in the way of local control,” said Cano, D-Tucson. “Senator Allen is stirring up controversy and panic with misinformation on an issue with broad public support. At a time when schools are underfunded and when we have a growing teacher shortage, the Legislature’s first week back at work will instead be discussing whether LGBT students have the right to feel safe at schools.”

“This bill is nothing more than a discriminatory distraction, and it is exactly the kind of division that Arizonans are tired of from out-of-touch lawmakers at their Capitol. The bill has prompted talks by analysts of a return to the previous statute that had been repealed by legislators in 2019. The law repealed had said schools were banned from promoting “homosexual lifestyles,” while making no provisions for limiting the promotion of other lifestyles. Senator Allen was one of the 10 GOP senators who were against the repeal.” 

Democratic State Senate District 11 Candidate Linda Patterson, an experienced educator, offered:

“State Senator Allen’s effort toward usurping the authority of local school districts to determine the curriculum it delivers to students is misguided. Local school districts were authorized by Arizona state government to reflect the goals of the local communities they serve. For Allen to ignore this reality should be disturbing to all of us as it is an example of “big government” coming in to disrespect the values of local residents. Arizonans have always valued local control of their schools.”

“In particular, this state senator has introduced a bill that dictates what and when the health and wellness courses in schools can introduce sex education classes. Ponder to think about the ramifications of this idea. These classes were primarily established to educate students about their sexuality as a preventive measure from the more dire consequences of unplanned pregnancies, diseases, and mental health issues. Additionally, these senators desire to abolish the dialogue of LBGTQ issues is completely misguided as the suicide rates for these adolescents is ever-increasing in Arizona; to the point where Governor Ducey signed a bill into law in the last session that required educators to become more adept in recognizing the warning signs of suicide in their students.”

Fortunately, late on January 10, Senator Allen, in response to the blowback on her proposed sex education guidelines, said she would file an amendment to her bill on Tuesday (January 14, 2020) to include the discussion of homosexuality in the curriculum.

That is a step in the right direction

Hopefully, Representative Filmore will realize he has erred as well and remove his proposal from consideration.

The Nazis had an open Anti-Gay Policy.

The Soviet Union had a program where unfavored individuals were erased from the History Books.

There is no place for any of those policies in Arizona or the United States of America.

 

 

 

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David Gordon
Living in Arizona since his family moved to Tempe from New York in 1982, David Gordon has three degrees from Arizona State University and the University of Phoenix in History, Political Science, and Secondary School Administration. A highly qualified Social Studies instructor and Certified School Principal, Mr. Gordon owned his own charter school, Grand Canyon College Preparatory Academy from 1997-2016. The school served students in grades 6-12 in the East Valley of Maricopa County. Many of the graduates of GCP earned college credit for free while still attending high school, some completing the first year of college before graduating. Among the speakers at the school's graduations were noted figures in Arizona Politics like Harry Mitchell, David Schweikert, Juan Mendes, Andrew Sherwood, and John Huppenthal. Mr. Gordon also participated in the revisions of the Arizona History and Social Studies standards. In January 2017, Mr. Gordon started the political blog Twenty-First Century Progressive Bull Moose. It has a global following and routinely comments on the political events of the day. Mr. Gordon also helps administer the Facebook page Living Blue in Arizona. He is also currently writing a series of Young Adult science fiction novels which incorporate the themes of time travel and its impact on history. Mr. Gordon is very happy to be asked to join the Blog for Arizona team and hopes to spread the progressive word to make Arizona a better place for everyone.

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