Critics of 'Don't Say Gay' bill worry it is too broad
Florida passed a controversial piece of legislation that bans children discussing sexual orientation and gender identity in classrooms – and people are furious.
Dubbed the 'Don't Say Gay' bill by parents and activists, the ban will specifically impact sex education in primary schools and when a student is "not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate."
Critics have slammed the bill passed on Thursday, as they believe it will only create further issues by isolating and stigmatising LGBT+ youth.
Nadine Smith, a queer mother and executive director of the Equality Florida non-profit, said: "Every child has a right to speak honestly about their lives, a right to have access to a history that is honest and includes them, and a right to library books that reflect and include who they are,"
Smith added: "What we are seeing is the systematic erasure or elimination of those resources for young people and a gag order imposed on educators."
While the White House has called out the bill as "designed to attack" LGBT people, it still had the support to pass the state's Republican-controlled legislature.
In favour of the newly implemented legislation, Republican Governor DeSantis said schools should teach lessons and avoid "entirely inappropriate" topics.
"Parents must have a seat at the table when it comes to what's going on in their schools," he said. "Outrage has poured out onto social media, with one disclaiming, "I hate the rhetoric about 'cancel culture', but I cannot let this one go. He added: "Until Florida repeal's this law, we all need to boycott everything Florida we can."
Many other appalled Twitter users have scheduled school walkouts and protests to fight back.
Today, the Florida House passed the "Don't Say Gay" bill. Students are angry, frustrated and ready to fight this sickening piece of legislation. I'm organizing a statewide school walkout on March 3rd at 12:00 PM in opposition. I encourage student leaders to join me. #DSGWalkoutpic.twitter.com/itcCmLVj6o
Florida House Republicans just advanced the horrific \u201cDon\u2019t Say Gay\u201d bill, which flat-out forbids classroom discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity.\n\nThey've stopped even pretending to be the party of free speech.
A horrific aspect of the new Don't Say Gay bill amendment is that it creates s massive incentive for students to extort and blackmail queer students. They couldn't tell a teacher because the school staff will still be forced to out the kids. How much abuse will this bill enable?
The Florida Don't Say Gay Bill passing the state house truly breaks my heart. I know tons of LGBT youth from the local LGBT centers and my HRT clinic. And knowing they will have to live under this legislation is fucking evil
— Victoria \ud83c\udf80 (@Victoria \ud83c\udf80)
Between Florida introducing the Don't Say Gay Bill, Texas' anti-transgender bill, and the Ukraine being invaded... this week has been incredibly rough. \n\nI encourage all of you not familiar w/ these topics to please educate yourself and find ways to make a positive difference.
Would be really nice for the Walt Disney Company, which employs approximately one trillion LGBTQ+ individuals in Florida and around the world, to speak out against this outrageous \u201cDon\u2019t Say Gay\u201d bill.
The Florida bill follows last year's abortion bill in Texas, which permitted people to sue anyone involved with a termination. Florida's 'Don't Say Gay' bill also allows parents to sue school districts and seek damages if they believe an educator has broken the law.
The legislation states that parents: “may bring an action against a school district to obtain a declaratory judgement that a school district procedure or practice violates this paragraph and seek injunctive relief. A court may award damages and shall award reasonable attorney fees and court costs to a parent who receives declaratory or injunctive relief”.
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