RALEIGH – ACLU of North Carolina executive director Chantal Stevens shared the following statement after the North Carolina Senate passed Senate Bill 49:
“Senate Bill 49 severely restricts discussion of sexuality and gender identity among educators and students, and forces school faculty to out children to their parents. This harmful legislation is part of a national campaign to target and alienate LGBTQ students and a broader movement to exclude LGBTQ people from public life and censor what our children can learn.
“As anti-LGBTQ campaigns and rhetoric increase, so do the mental and physical harms suffered by children in North Carolina. LGBTQ youth are already more than four times as likely to attempt suicide than their peers. In a 2021 report from the Campaign for Southern Equality, nearly three-quarters of LGBTQ youth reported feeling unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation. Politically motivated bills like SB 49 only worsen conditions for students who are already vulnerable.
“Unfortunately, not all LGBTQ students feel safe at home. School may be the only place where they feel safe expressing their true identity. Forcing teachers and guidance counselors to inform students’ parents when the student uses a different name or pronouns at school will put LGBTQ students at further risk of abuse and cause greater fear and isolation at school.
“We call on lawmakers in the State House to reject this dangerous legislation and protect the right of every child in North Carolina to a safe, inclusive and comprehensive education, free from discrimination.”