Students walk out of Birmingham school to rally against anti-LGBTQ+ bills | Metro Detroit News | Detroit

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More than 70 students walked out of a Birmingham school Monday afternoon to protest the wave of anti-LGBTQ+ bills in state legislatures.

“We stand at a choice: Will we embrace the values of liberty, equality, and fraternity or fall back into ignorance and reaction?” 16-year-old Phillip Rabinovich told students at the beginning of the protest at Roeper Middle and Upper School.

LGBTQ rights have come under attack by conservative state lawmakers across the country, including Michigan. In the first three months of this year, nearly 240 bills have been been introduced in state legislatures that would limit the rights of LGBTQ+ people, according to Freedom for All Americans.

The bills target gender-affirming medical care for trans children, LGBTQ discussion in classrooms, and trans people in youth sports. One of the most notorious is a Florida bill, which opponents dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay bill” because it limits classroom discussion about sexual orientation and gender identity in grades K-3.

Similar bills have emerged in Arizona, Iowa, South Dakota, Texas, and Utah.

In Michigan, the Republican-controlled state Senate introduced a bill in May that would require high school students to compete on sports teams based on their “biological sex,” which Sen. Lana Theis, R-Brighton, defines as “the physical condition of being male or female” as identified at birth.

A Republican candidate for the Michigan House announced that, if elected he would introduce legislation similar to Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

Outside the Roeper Middle and Upper School, students delivered speeches, marched, and chanted.

“Overall, it was a much bigger showing than I expected,” Rabinovich, who held a sign that read, “Queer Liberation Now,” tells Metro Times. “A lot of people were supportive.”

With so much a stake and the anti-LGBTQ+ bills gaining traction, Rabinovich said it’s going to take people of all ages to stand up against hate.

“We need everyone on board as possible,” Rabinovich says. “We need to start building a better world.”

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