The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

‘Stop the Sexualization of Children Act’ arrives in Congress

The introduction of the “Stop the Sexualization of Children” raises discussion over its possible effects on the LGBTQ+ community. “I think that it would negatively impact many people because it would make it harder to have access to resources,” Joyce Liu said. Photo of People on the Street/ Gotta Be Worth It/ / Public Domain

Critics have called the “Stop the Sexualization of  Children Act” a national version of the “Don’t Say Gay” laws in Florida. 

Louisiana Rep. Mike Johnson introduced the “Stop the Sexualization of Children Act” onto the House floor ahead of the upcoming midterm elections. According to Johnson’s website, the bill “prohibits the use of federal funds to develop, implement, facilitate, or fund any sexually-oriented program, event, or literature for children under the age of 10. The bill prohibits federal funds from being used to host or promote events where adults dance salaciously or strip for children.”

The bill defines a sexually-oriented topic as “any depiction, description, or simulation of sexual activity, any lewd or lascivious depiction or description of human genitals, or any topic involving gender identity, gender dysphoria, transgenderism, sexual orientation, or related subjects.” 

The “Stop the Sexualization of Children Act” is not the first of its kind. The proposal of a bill limiting the discussion or education of sexual orientation and gender identity has occurred in several states.

Additionally, Johnson has given some insight into the reasoning behind the introduction of this bill. 

“The Democrat Party and their cultural allies are on a misguided crusade to immerse young children in sexual imagery and radical gender ideology,” Johnson stated.

The bill includes findings of how some schools implemented sexual education for children younger than 10 years old and have introduced discussions on topics like sexuality and sexual orientation as early as kindergarten. It also covers how the promotion and hosting of sexually-oriented events like burlesque and drag shows used federal funds. 

Furthermore, the findings highlight how local and state libraries, museums, and other educational institutions purchase reading materials that “teach children about concepts like masturbation, pornography, sexual acts, and gender transition” using federal grants.  

The bill’s goal is to prohibit the federal funding and use of federally-owned property for sexually-oriented events, programs, and literature. However, there are negative feelings and discussions about this bill due to the topics it deems “sexually-oriented.”

The Gender Sexuality Alliance club (GSA) meets every Monday at E8 during lunch. The club provides a safe space for those in the LGBTQ+ community and is a place where students can hang out and relax. Joyce Liu, a sophomore and a member of GSA’s social media team is not fond of the bill.

“I think it is kind of disgusting. For some people, it is a huge part of their identities. It’s unfair that because a certain group of people feels that way, they have to suffer for it,” Liu said. 

Alexandria LeeNatali, executive director of Health Connected, a nonprofit organization that follows the California Healthy Youth Act and educates students about healthy relationships, sexual health, sexual orientation, and much more, gave similar thoughts. 

Traditionally, I think education is meant to expand one’s knowledge about topics previously unknown to them. Regardless of their own identity, it’s important to learn about a large spectrum of identities and beliefs,” LeeNatali said. 

According to LeeNatali, research shows that when students who are part of the LGBTQ+ community feel heard and understood, they are at a lower risk for depression.

I think children can learn about love at any age

— LeeNatali

I think children can learn about love at any age,” LeeNatali said.

LeeNatali believes education about these topics can start at whatever age students begin to ask. She mentioned that it typically happens at a pretty young age and that her niece and nephew, who are three-year-olds, have already started asking about why their parents love each other. 

However, California Congressman Doug LaMalfa, a cosponsor of the act, does not share the same views.

“Classrooms and libraries are a place for our children to learn English, math, and history – not be exposed to radical general ideology and sexually explicit ‘Drag Queen Storytimes’. This bill is common-sense; not a dime of federal tax dollars should go to any public school, government agency, or private organization that intentionally exposes young children to sexually explicit material,” Congressman LaMalfa stated.

Amanda Roberti is an assistant professor of political science at San Francisco State University and focuses on everything within gender and politics. She believes the bill would disservice students and parents as well as create an unwelcome environment and stigma that pushes people into the closet.

“I hope it dies in committee. I think it’s a poorly planned, poorly executed, and unfair bill. We’ve already seen policies before that shroud the LGBTQ community, in secrecy and in a veil of fear. And that’s no way to live in the US. There should be no kind of second-class citizen for any marginalized group,” Roberti said. 

According to Roberti, the bill will most likely not become law because the Democrats currently control both houses and the presidency. Even if the Republicans gain control in the houses after the upcoming midterm election, Joe Biden will still be president, and he would not sign a bill like this. This raises the question of why Republicans would be motivated to introduce a bill with little chance of being signed up into law.

“I think conservative lawmakers are trying to credit claim, to motivate their base, and to gain donors. They can send emails and say, ‘look what we’re trying to do.’ So in the most cynical form, it’s a moneymaker, but in the most technical form, it is a symbolic representation of conservative votes,” Roberti said. 

We do not anticipate that Democrats will schedule a vote on this commonsense proposal while they run the floor, but we intend to keep pressing the issue in a Republican majority

— Johnson

Although there is little chance for the bill to be signed into law, the Republicans seem determined to get what they want, even if it takes more time.

“We do not anticipate that Democrats will schedule a vote on this commonsense proposal while they run the floor, but we intend to keep pressing the issue in a Republican majority,” Johnson said to Fox News

Roberti believes calling the “Stop the Sexualization of Children Act” a national “Don’t Say Gay” bill, is a pretty fair comparison.  

“There are definite differences between what the federal level is doing versus what states are doing. Even between states, there’s a lot of variation in these types of bills. But I think making that comparison is actually fair, on the level, where they are grouping all of these bills together, all these potential pieces of legislation, that move towards excluding the LGBTQ community from the educational setting,” Roberti said.  

Whether this bill or a similar piece of legislation in the future makes it to law, is substantially affected by which party is in control of the legislative and executive branches. As midterm elections are coming up, the party that controls the legislative branch faces the possibility of changing or remaining the same, and voters play a significant role in deciding what happens. So, if you are eligible to vote, what do you think? What will you choose?

“If in the midterm election, Republicans gain control of the entirety of Congress, and in the 2024 presidential election, a Republican wins that seat, then they can introduce and try to pass anything they want really. They might be met with resistance in the form of a filibuster from Democratic senators, who are in the minority, but it would probably only slow down the progress and not stop it completely,” Roberti said.

Navigate Left
Navigate Right
About the Contributor
Katherine A. Zhang
Katherine A. Zhang, Highlander Editor
Katherine A. Zhang, class of '25, is a junior at Carlmont High School and a staff writer for the Scot Scoop. She is looking forward to meeting new people and learning more about the community. Katherine enjoys reading and spending time with her friends when she has free time. Twitter: @Katherine00718

Comments (0)

We invite comments and responses to our content. Comments that are deemed appropriate and relevant will be published.
All Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Activate Search
The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.
‘Stop the Sexualization of Children Act’ arrives in Congress