Welcome to "This is America," a newsletter centered on race, identity and how they shape our lives. I’m Cady Stanton, a breaking news reporter with USA TODAY focusing on topics affecting the LGBTQ community.
In March and April, I spoke with students in Arizona, Florida, Iowa and Ohio about their perspectives on so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bills across the country, many of which target discussions of sexuality, gender identity and other LGBTQ-related topics in classrooms.
In interviews, students told me they were scared for their futures, and fear over the restrictions from the bills – often before they are even signed into law – has made them and their peers feel lonely and isolated. They shared their feelings of anger and disgust that their affirming spaces are at risk and that their conversations may be policed.