Legislation proposed by Republican lawmakers in Arizona would prohibit teachers from using a student’s “preferred pronouns” without parental consent.
The legislation was pre-filed by state Senator-elect John Kavanagh.
“An employee or independent contractor of a school district or charter school may not knowingly address, identify or refer to a student who is under eighteen years of age by a pronoun that differs from the pronoun that aligns with the student’s biological sex unless the school district or charter school receives written permission from the student’s parent,” the proposed bill states.
Additionally, the proposed legislation says that “a school district or charter school may not require an employee or independent contractor to address, identify, or refer to a person by a pronoun that differs from the pronoun that aligns with the person’s biological sex if doing so is contrary to the employee’s or independent contractor’s religious or moral convictions.”
Sen.-elect John Kavanagh told the Arizona Mirror that the bill makes sure parents are informed about the decisions their children make.
“Under my bill you can call a person by a different pronoun or you can even call the person by a name associated with the opposite biological gender, so long as the parents have given permission,” Kavanagh said.
Kavanaugh shot down potential criticism that the bill would harm students, asserting that most parents just want to help their kids.
“Transgender students are often under psychological stress,” he said. “In fact there’s a term…called gender dysphoria and that type of condition needs parental assistance and perhaps even medical attention that the parents refer the student to. This cannot happen if the school keeps the parents in the dark.”
Republicans held control of both chambers in the midterms, but Republican Gov. Doug Ducey will be replaced by Democrat Katie Hobbs on Jan. 9.
Hobbs previously criticized a bill that banned gender transition surgeries for minors in the state and one that prohibited students from playing on sports teams that did not match their biological sex.
Asked if he thought Hobbs would sign the legislation, Kavanaugh would not rule it out.
“I’m not willing to assume that Gov. Hobbs would want to keep parents in the dark, especially when the children have a condition that results overall in higher suicide rates,” he said. “I think parents need to know, they need to get help for the children (and) counseling. I’m not going to assume the governor would oppose that.”