I have been doing research on mental health and support in schools for a school project. I had come across a bill that has now become law in Florida called “Parental Rights in Education” and termed “Don’t Say Gay,” which prohibits “classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity.” My goal here is to inform people who are going to vote to select politicians that would not let a similar bill pass in Indiana.
One reason is because kids who are part of the LGBTQ+ community already have a tough time trying to fit in, and if we take away their right to talk about how they feel with adults, it might make it harder to feel comfortable. They could have trouble at home because their parents don’t approve of their decision to openly be who they are.
Another reason is because counselors are here for you to talk about your feelings if you need to, and if that is taken away, they would have to find a new counselor who they might not feel comfortable talking with.
My final reason is because suicide rates among the LGBTQ+ community are so high that at least one LGBTQ+ youth between the ages of 13 to 24 attempts suicide every 45 seconds in the U.S. If they can’t get the support they need, those rates could go up.
As voters, you have the ability to select politicians that would protect all youth, particularly those that are most vulnerable, such as those in the LGBTQ+ community. Please consider what I said when you vote.
Jordan Penquite, eighth-grade student at Clay Middle School