Florida Governor Expected To Sign “Don’t Say Gay” Bill Into Law
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Last Thursday, Florida’s House of Representatives passed the Parental Rights in Education bill, and the senate version of the bill is now up for a vote by the Republican majority. The bill is expected to be passed by that chamber, and GOP Governor Ron DeSantis is also expected to sign the bills into law.

Opponents have dubbed them the “Don’t Say Gay” bills as they “would bar school districts from encouraging classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Republican Rep. Joe Harding, who introduced the legislation, said it’s about “empowering parents…[and] creating boundaries at an early age of what is appropriate in our schools, when we are funding our schools, is not hate…It’s actually providing boundaries, and it’s fair to our teachers and our school districts to know what we expect.”

Democratic Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, who is gay, made an emotional speech on the house floor Thursday, wearing an upside-down rainbow Pride ribbon, “as a symbol that LGBTQ community in Florida is in distress,” speaking out against the matter, “We are in distress because this bill is yet another attack on our community…This bill goes way beyond the text on its page.It sends a terrible message to our youth that there is something so wrong, so inappropriate, so dangerous about this topic that we have to censor it from classroom instruction.”

President Biden weighed in on the proposal earlier this month, tweeting, “I want every member of the LGBTQI+ community — especially the kids who will be impacted by this hateful bill — to know that you are loved and accepted just as you are. I have your back, and my Administration will continue to fight for the protections and safety you deserve.”

“[T]he Trevor Project, a nonprofit focused on suicide prevention among LGBTQ+ youth” has reported alarming statistics, “42% of LGBTQ+ youth seriously considered suicide last year…94% of LGBTQ+ youth reported that recent politics negatively impacted their mental health…[and] LGBTQ+ youth who learned about LGBTQ+ issues or people in classrooms had 23% lower odds of reporting a suicide attempt in the last 12 months.”

In a statement issued by Sam Ames, director of advocacy and government affairs of the organization, said this “would effectively erase LGBT+ students across Florida, forcing many back into the closet by policing their identity and silencing important discussions about the issues they face.”

Florida is not the only state embroiled in this battle. According to GLSEN, an advocacy group, “three bills allowing parents to opt their students out of coursework mentioning gender identity or sexual orientation passed last year.”

Texas is also garnering negative attention from the LGBTQ community after Republican Governor Greg Abbott asked “’licensed professionals’ and ‘members of the general public’ to report the parents of transgender children if it appears the minors have received gender-affirming medical care, which the state has now declared ‘child abuse.’” 


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