Protestors gather in opposition of a bill requiring sexual health inclusivity training for teachers
Monday was the first day the Hawaiʻi State Capitol opened to the public since the pandemic. Dozens of people gathered to oppose a bill that would train teachers how to inclusively teach LGBT topics in sexual health class.
HB1697 mandates the state Department of Education to train teachers how to approach topics such as LGBT, race, and disabilities in a sexual health class.
Opponents believe the bill will teach overly sexual topics to children.
State Rep. Bob McDermott spoke in opposition of the bill, saying, "Why in the world would we talk about analingus — mouth on anus? ...Well how about fisting? Google it if you don’t know what it is. It’s a practice that occurs not uncommonly in the male homosexual community."
McDermott opposes HB1697 and said he worries the bill will have a direct influence on sexual education curriculum.
"This bill is to brainwash the teachers to present this politically correct gender ideology that you haven’t approved," he said at the rally.
However, neither the DOE nor lawmakers have the power to choose specific curriculums.
Rather than deciding what is being taught in public school health class, HB1697 calls for sexual inclusivity training for teachers. This means teachers will be trained on how to approach sexual health topics in a positive, medically accurate, and inclusive manner.
Rep. Amy Perruso is one of the legislators who introduced HB1697. She said, "As a parent myself, I think that there is a role that families play in the education of their children, but I also think that teachers act in loco parentis in the schools. We are acting as parents."
"We are responsible for the well being — the psychological well being, the emotional well being — of our young people when they are in our care. And I think our teachers need more training," Perruso told HPR.
HB1697 passed its third and final reading in the House and will move to the Senate for consideration.