Eight US states still have laws that prohibit the promotion of homosexuality in schools.
According to a map produced by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, ‘no promo homo’ laws are still in place in Alabama, Arizona, Mississippi, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Utah.
Despite outrage in the US over ‘gay propaganda’ laws in Russia, according to Arizona law, “no district shall include in its course of study instruction which promotes a homosexual life-style”, while Utah criminalises “the advocacy of homosexuality”.
In Alabama and Texas, sex education classes must teach that homosexuality is “not a lifestyle acceptable to the general public”, while in South Carolina, school lessons “may not include a discussion of alternate sexual lifestyles”.
Mississippi, Louisiana and Oklahoma all have similar laws, while two further states, South Dakota and Missouri, prohibit schools from having anti-gay bullying policies.
The report from GLSEN says: “This restricts schools in those states from educating their children about homosexuality.”
“These statutes only serve to further stigmatize LGBT students by providing K-12 students false, misleading, or incomplete information about LGBT people”.
Unlike anti-gay laws in Russia, most of the US ‘no promo homo’ laws only apply in schools, and cannot be used to clamp down on the adult gay community.
However, according to GLSEN, “they are often vague and can be misapplied by schools” to prohibit events and gay-straight alliances.