HHS Students Protest the Don’t Say Gay Bill



GSA President Keely Jordan and Vice President Grace Kelly give a speech thanking the HHS student body for their solidarity.

Keely Jordan, Co-Editor-in-Chief

On Friday, March 11, Hingham High School participated in one of several nationwide walkouts in solidarity with the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN)’s protests against the anti-LGBT legislature in Florida and Texas. Over 200 HHS students gathered in the side courtyard in front of the school’s rainbow-painted wall to show support and solidarity for those protesting this oppressive legislation. 

The protests were organized in protest against two main bills: the Don’t Say Gay Bill in Florida, and two Anti-Trans bills in Texas. The Don’t Say Gay Bill is a bill that significantly limits educators’ abilities at the elementary school level to discuss LGBT topics such as gender and sexuality. It would prohibit any “age-inappropriate” discussion of the LGBT community in schools from ages 3-8. The bill’s vague wording essentially makes it so no discussion of LGBT topics will be allowed until the fourth grade. Why does this matter? The LGBT community is not something taboo or inappropriate for children to learn about. Just like with heterosexuality, children can know that they are gay or trans from a very young age. By preventing children from being properly educated on these topics, queer students feel alienated in their communities. Students with queer parents may not feel comfortable or even be allowed to talk about that in class. The bill assumes a heteronormative way of life, and that being LGBT is another or inappropriate for children. 

Less talked about than the Don’t Say Gay Bill is the anti-trans legislation being pushed in Texas. In Texas currently, there is legislation that is attempting to punish parents who affirm the genders of their transgender children by taking them to get any form of trans medical services. It is currently illegal in every state for sex reassignment surgery to be performed on a minor, however, this is not the only form of gender-based medical care that minors may receive. Children can receive dysphoria counseling, legally change names, and go onto puberty blockers to slow the development of unnecessary secondary sex characteristics. They can also begin voice training and with parental permission, start taking gender-affirming hormone supplements. All of these treatments can help children suffering from dysphoria substantially, which can greatly improve the mental health of trans youth. However, Texas’s bill seeks to punish parents who provide these services for their children, threatening parents with mandatory CPS visits if they affirm the genders of their children. This bill would be detrimental to the health and safety of transgender youth as well as the stability of their families. 

In protest of these bills, Hingham High School held a moderately successful walkout. The immense showcase of support for the queer students of HHS was astounding. However, when discussing the events of the walkout, one would be remiss to not discuss the behavior of some individuals not at the walkout in support of the initiative. While GSA leaders Keely Jordan and Grace Kelly were giving a speech thanking the students of HHS for their support, an HHS student chose to interrupt their speech in a possible attempt to make a mockery of the event. As a result of this act, many queer students have expressed discomfort in their community, including the HHS drama club which felt unsafe performing their annual festival showcase in front of the entire student body for fear of homophobic actions by their peers. Unfortunately, the school climate at HHS has made students feel this way, however, announcements on Friday given by principal Swanson showcase that the HHS administration is dedicated to repairing the school climate to make all students feel safe and included. 

GSA treasurer, Lana Lucas expressed their feelings on the walkout to the Harborlight by stating, “I am extremely surprised to see how many people showed up and was very touched by their courageous acceptance. The actions of one of our peers were disruptive, disingenuous, disheartening, and disrespectful.” Lucas goes on to state, “I hope many students will come to see how dangerous the actions could have/ have become. I hope people will continue to speak about issues that concern them despite what happened.” 

The majority of the HHS student body feels the same, believing that the walkout stayed true to its goals despite the disruptions.