Students walk out to protest ‘don’t say gay’ bill

Dozens of students participated in a noon walkout to protest a state bill that could ban discussions of sexual orientation and gender in the classroom.




Lakewood LGBTQ+ students and supporters organized a walkout Thursday (3/3), peacefully protesting the “Don’t Say Gay” bill outside on the corner of 16th Street and 54th Avenue S for about 10 minutes. Similar walkouts were happening on Thursday at schools throughout the state.

Dozens of students gathered under the tree on the corner, carrying signs and making speeches. They wanted to display their disapproval of the proposed state bill.

According to the bill, “A school district may not encourage classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students.”

Supporters of the bill say it gives parents more of a say on what goes on in their children’s classrooms. Opponents of the bill say it is dangerous and will harm kids. 

Senior Jack Land spoke at the protest and said he wished the students could have stayed outside longer. To Land, the protest meant being able to live freely without “being demonized for just existing.”

“It’s being able to live how I want to live happily,” he said.

Junior Nicole Bundy, who helped organize the protest, said she walked out because she felt that the students need to be protected.

“I really want everyone in our school to feel comfortable about each other, and for school to be a safe place for everyone,” Bundy said.

Senior Tiara Crespo also attended the protest. She said she is tired of people who have power limiting and muting others. She’s concerned most about the suicide rates going up in the LGBTQ+ community.

“We’re showing that we know how to use our voices. We’re showing that we’re not afraid to point out the obvious discrimination embedded in … the system,” she said.

Sophomore Alessandra Williams Kemmerer said the walkout shows that kids who are being directly affected by the bill have a voice.

“The fact that they are trying to pass a bill that just completely reprimands that and wipes it out of existence is awful,” Williams said. “We very clearly have discussions about sexuality all the time.”

Freshman Arianna Alzuphar, who attended the protest, said she does not think the bill will  benefit students.

“Either way people are going to learn about what being gay is … but learning about it in school first would probably be better,” Alzuphar said.

Land said the protest showed that students can “be loud and be proud.”

“Nothing is ever going to get done if people just keep quiet,” he said.