Montana lawmakers revise proposed transgender harassment bill

Montana lawmakers revise proposed transgender harassment bill

Helena, Mont. (AP) – Montana lawmakers on Thursday amended a proposed bill that opponents criticized by allowing students to avoid punishment for intentionally misgendering or naming their transgender peers.

Under the amended law, schools will be allowed to discipline those who refer to transgender students by their birth name or birth gender when such behavior rises to the level of bullying.

Opponents argued that the amended bill simply creates a gray area that allows bullying and leaves schools with no way to discipline it as long as it meets the state’s legal definition of bullying.

The House Judiciary Committee passed the revised legislation 13-6, A day after hearing from dozens of opponents Those who testified that the measure would increase bullying and harassment of students already struggling to fit in.

The bill declares that misogyny and dead naming of transgender students by classmates is not unlawful discrimination.

Its sponsor, Rep. Brandon Lahr, said he does not want to allow bullying of transgender students and he supported the amendment. He argued during Wednesday’s hearing that “children should not be forced to tell someone they are not.”

Democratic Rep. Laura Smith, a committee member who opposed the legislation, said that under the revised bill, students could harass transgender students as long as the behavior “doesn’t rise to the secondary level of bullying, and you can’t address it without that.”

Montana Pride President Kevin Ham also said the amendment does not fix the proposed measure.

“Putting something out there that says, ‘Oh, I can’t get in trouble for using your deadname or misgendering you because it’s on your legal papers,’ is still going to be used as an attack on trans people and an attack on trans people.” ” she said.

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