Legislative efforts to expand on sexual orientation and gender identity instruction in K-12 public school classrooms continue to draw the ire of Democrats mourning the death of "inclusive discussions."

Many have accused Republicans of essentially using issues such as diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), critical race theory (CRT) and other "divisive concepts" as political bogeymen to advance an anti-LGBTQ agenda.

In an interview that aired Sunday on CNN, State Rep. Neil Rafferty (D-Birmingham) went so far as to say the bill, dubbed the "Don't Say Gay Bill" by many leftists, could interfere with teaching otherwise innocuous historical facts.

"It is a super problematic bill," he said. "It has become so vague that can even talk about Martha Washington being married to George Washington because Martha Washington was a woman, wife, right, who married a man, George Washington. So that's a heterosexual relationship. That's sexual orientation. Now you're talking about gender identity and sexual orientation."

While the bill makes allowance for discussion of certain sexual or gendered topics in the proper context — if the George Washington example would even apply — Rafferty said the bill and others like it were simply not needed.

"These are not homegrown Alabama issues," he said. "Essentially, these are solutions in search of a problem."

While the simple threat of harmful ideologies invading Alabama like they have other states is enough for some lawmakers to seek preemptive actions, Rafferty need look no further than the recent scandals plaguing several of the state's beloved institutions to see what it is the divisive concepts bill is up against.

Like at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, where a transgender employee was transferred after an investigation showed undisclosed policy violations related to a parent complaint.

Or the now-retired Huntsville teacher and drag queen who bragged about "strategically" and "covertly" placing LGBTQ+ material in his classroom.

There's also the ongoing battle at the Autauga/Prattville Public Library and others in the state regarding sexually explicit and inappropriate content on bookshelves in the children's and teen's sections.

To connect with the story's author or comment, email daniel.taylor@1819news.com or find him on X and Facebook.

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