Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin are currently pushing Assembly Bill 562, a bill that would require school boards to notify parents anytime “sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or gender expression” comes up in a test, project, or anything else. It’s just a rabidly bigoted bill, as if the mere existence of LGBTQ people in the curriculum requires a warning for parents.
So yesterday, during a public hearing, one of the bill’s co-sponsors, GOP State Rep. Donna M. Rozar, was asked if parents needed to be notified if a history book mentioned someone like Harvey Milk, the openly gay elected official in San Francisco who was assassinated in 1978.
It was a fair question! The point was that LGBTQ people are part of history, not merely pawns in some liberal agenda, so does their inclusion in a history class merit a warning for parents?
Rozar’s response was appalling. Not just because she defended her bigotry… but because she thought Harvey Milk was a fictional character.
Donna Rozar, Wisconsin Assembly member and author of a homophobic education bill, thinks Harvey Milk is a fictional character pic.twitter.com/ORQltgbEox
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) September 16, 2021
STATE REP. SONDY POPE: So if there’s a book in the library that students can read, or are going to be part of a history project, about Harvey Milk, do the parents need to be notified that Harvey Milk is gonna be mentioned in a book that they’re reading about American… people in America? Famous people? I mean, he’s got a stamp, you know?
ROZAR: I don’t… I’m not familiar… is that a real person? I mean, I’m… Are you just throwing that out as a…?
POPE: He’s a very real person!
ROZAR: Okay, I’m sorry, I’m not familiar with him. You’ll have to…
That may be the best unintentional argument ever for why students should learn about LGBTQ people and pertinent issues. Rozar, a politician who’s unfamiliar with one of the most famous politicians in U.S. history, thinks parents need to shelter their kids from facts if they involve LGBTQ people.
Incidentally, a minute later, Rep. Pope tried again with another example: Did parents need to be notified about Pete Buttigieg in a discussion about who ran for president in 2020?
After admitting she knew who Buttigieg was, Rozar responded that it would be “up to the discretion of the school board.”
So, yes, acknowledging the mere existence of openly LGBTQ people, even in a historical setting, would be a bridge too far for Republicans in Wisconsin. The GOP wants parents to be able to opt out their kids from such discussions. At that point, you have to wonder why those parents even bother sending their kids to a public school when they can spread their ignorance at home.
(Rep. Pope reacted to the Buttigieg remark by saying, “You realize how ridiculous all of this looks?!” There was no response to that.)
Not that you had any doubts, but Rozar is Christian. Because of course she is.
(Featured screenshot via WisconsinEye)