Groups rally at Capitol to support transgender children

LGBTQ advocate groups held a rally at the Minnesota State Capitol on Sunday to raise awareness and push back against proposed legislation they say would hurt transgender children.

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“So much of my friends and extended family and peers are being hurt across the country and it needs to change,” Hildie Edwards, supporter, said.

Transgender flags flew high at the State Capitol as supporters of trans youth raised their voices to stand against new legislation — the Parents Bill of Rights.

“I think there’s a lot of individuals who are uncomfortable with LQBTQ young people, but their comfortability can’t prevent them from being safe in school,” Dave Edwards, supporter, said.

State Senate Republicans pitched a package of four bills called the Parents Bill of Rights which got its first set of votes Thursday. The bills in part would require teachers to share student information with parents and give parents open access to school curriculum.

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The bill does not specifically mention LGBTQ students, but opponents say the legislation could be harmful to the community.

“If you just look at the bill, it might look benign, but if you actually listen to the people who are arguing for the bill, the things they were saying were really anti-trans and anti-gay,” Jess Braverman, Gender Justice legal director, said.

Some organizations are concerned the bill could require educators to out students to their parents.

“It makes me feel very sad because I don’t get why people would ever have the audacity to make people feel this hurt,” Hildie said.

But there’s a mixed reaction.

“The reason why we are supporting the Parents Bill of Rights is because it’s an important reminder that parents play a very important role in their children’s lives,” Kelly Janssen, Child Protection League Action representative, said.

Janssen said the more transparency in schools, the better.

“We get reports on a regular basis from parents that have tried to get information and have a hard time getting that information from their school district and get the runaround,” she said. “I think that it’s tragic that schools would think that they would have to keep something from parents.”

The bills await action by the DFL-controlled house.