Representative Lauren Boebert, a Colorado Republican, has faced ridicule online after tweeting that she does not remember teachers bringing up their pronouns or marital status in the classroom.
Conservatives in recent years have targeted the discussion of LGBTQ identities in public school classrooms, passing bills restricting teachers’ ability to discuss such topics. Many in the LGBTQ community have raised concerns that this sort of legislation infringes on their rights and well-being, but proponents of these bills have defended them, saying these conversations aren’t appropriate for the classroom.
Boebert, who has previously faced accusations of using anti-LGBTQ rhetoric, responded to a clip of White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre condemning Florida officials last week for their controversial “Don’t Say Gay” bill. Jean-Pierre called out the state for banning “teachers from talking about who they are and who they love.”
Boebert questioned why Democrats would “complain” about the bill, which critics say limits the abilities of LGBTQ teachers to talk about their personal life while their heterosexual colleagues do not have the same restrictions.
“Growing up, I don’t recall teachers announcing their marital status & pronouns to everyone. They’re there to educate,” the GOP lawmaker tweeted on Saturday. “How is this still a complaint of the Left?”
However, many others pointed out that teachers discussing their personal lives with students occurs fairly regularly within the country.
“I had a picture of my husband and kids on my desk, wore a wedding ring, and my students referred to me as Mrs. Piper…” tweeted former Missouri legislature candidate Jessica Piper.
She continued in a separate tweet: “To go even further, I taught while I was pregnant! I wonder if the kids wondered why I gained 40 pounds and it all seemed to go to my belly? Maybe its okay for kids to know teachers are human who have human relationships…maybe that would make it easier to teach fellow humans?”
Meanwhile, Brandon Wolf, the press secretary for Equality Florida, tweeted on Monday:
“The irony is how common this is in small, conservative towns where teachers are married to each other and everyone knows everyone else. In our little cow town, it was impossible not to know that Ms. Groves and Mr. Harman got married one year,” Wolf tweeted. “It is not abnormal for kids to know that their teachers have spouses or refer to them by gendered titles. Just say you don’t want kids to know that queer people exist and stop gaslighting everyone.”
Author Eric Rosswood tweeted: “Wearing a wedding ring is a form of announcing your marital status. I guess when Lauren Boebert was growing up, all teachers removed their wedding rings before entering the classroom.”
Lawyer Max Kennerly responded to Boebert, tweeting: “Weird because I knew the pronouns of every single one of my teachers and for most of them I knew their marital status too. They announced them on the first day of class by referring to themselves as Mr., Mrs., Ms., or Miss.”
The debate over whether teachers should be allowed to discuss LGBTQ identities in the classroom come as many in the community warn of an uptick in homophobic or transphobic rhetoric, including the resurgence of the unfounded allegations that many LGBTQ people try to “groom” children by discussing diverse gender and sexual identities in schools.
Newsweek reached out to Boebert’s office for comment.