Recently, lawmakers in Mississippi proposed House Bill 1176 which would prohibit school administrations from punishing teachers who purposely misgender their transgender students, according to Think Progress.
The bill would update existing laws that determine how teachers can be disciplined. The bill adds language to the laws that would prohibit the suspension or firing of teachers who refer "to any individual student’s immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy and genetics at time of birth.”
Additionally, the bill also says that teachers and staff cannot be forced to comply with or respect their student's preferred identity if (I'm sure you know where this is going) doing so interferes with their deeply held religious beliefs or moral conviction.
This is hardly surprising to me, as Mississippi has not had the best track record when it comes to LGBTQ rights. Take the controversial "license to discriminate" law that was passed in 2016. This law gave businesses the right to legally discriminate against LGBTQ based on their sexuality because of, you guessed, it the business owner's deeply held religious beliefs.
I've written about some of the injustices that LGBTQ people face in this country and around the world and while there has been significant progress in regard to LGBTQ rights, many American students still hear homophobic and transphobic remarks every day. This can lead to poor academic performance and lowered self-esteem. The fact that Mississippi lawmakers want to teachers to be able to harass their own students should be a wakeup call for all of us that there is still so much more work to do.