“Don’t Say Gay” Bill Passed in Florida Leaves Many Confused

Photo Courtesy of MSNBC news

Photo Courtesy of MSNBC news

Erin Edmon, Staff Writer

On January 20, 2022, Florida legislation passed what is commonly known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. This bill restricts discussion of gender, sexuality, and LGBTQ+ history/content in schools.

The bill considers the discussion of these topics to be inappropriate in a classroom setting, especially around younger children, who may be impressionable or misunderstand the material being taught to them. The bill makes it so that if parents deem their children’s schools or teachers to be discussing potentially inappropriate or sensitive topics with their children, the parents can take legal action and even sue.

“Schools need to be teaching kids to read, to write. They need to teach them science, history. We need more civics and understanding of the US Constitution, what makes our country unique, all those basic things,” said Ron DeSantis, Florida governor.

However, many people have an issue with this bill. Common concerns brought up are that this restriction will erase LGBTQ+ history and potentially harm LGBTQ+ kids who are being brought up in ignorant and hostile environments. According to the Trevor Project, failure to teach these subjects could also lead to an increase in LGBTQ+ youth suicides. Another common concern is that this erasure could create a stigma around sexuality and gender and devolve societal progress.

“This would erase LGBTQ+ history and culture from lesson plans and it sends a chilling message to LGBTQ+ young people and communities,” said Melanie Willingham-Jaggers, LGBTQ+ activist and executive director of GLSEN, a national LGBTQ+ youth advocacy group.

Two bills have effectively been put into place by the  House Education & Employment Committee, and parents now have legal control over their children learning about gender and sexuality.