Top 3 Things To Know About The Don’t Say Gay Bill
From kindergarten through third grade, Florida teachers can no longer discuss sexual orientation and gender identity with their students. This law and a dozen other discriminatory laws went into effect on July 1, 2022, in several states. A new conservative law outrages even the White House. Renamed “Don’t say gay” by LGBTQ+ associations, a text voted by the majority Republican Senate of Florida (United States) on Tuesday, March 8, 2022, now prohibits schools from mentioning gender identity and sexual orientation issues in class.
The local governor Ron DeSantis validated the text, House Bill 1557, on March 29, 2022. It went into effect on July 1, 2022. Last February, Joe Harding, the Republican who introduced the bill, said the intent of the bill was primarily to keep parents “informed and involved” in their child’s education. “It’s up to parents to talk about these issues with their children,” Ron DeSantis argued. So, without further ado, let’s dive into this blog and learn more about Florida’s clearly homophobic new anti-queer bill.
1. Censorship that could extend to high school
Thus, teachers can no longer discuss these issues with their kindergarten and elementary students, up to and including third grade. But what worries the critics of this law, which is considered anti-LGBTQ+, is a mention that could extend the ban to higher grades. Thus the text says that schools cannot “encourage a conversation in a classroom about sexual orientation or gender identity at the elementary level in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students.”
A very broad formulation that would allow this law stigmatizing people in the LGBTQ+ community to be applied all the way up to high school. In a press release, Cathryn M. Oakley, an attorney for the national LGBTQ+ rights group Human Rights Campaign, denounced the language, “the Florida state legislature is playing a dangerous political game with the health and safety of LGBTQ+ children.”
On a daily basis, these children often already face stigma, isolation, and school harassment. Such a law like this makes them even more vulnerable. On Twitter, the president of the United States was quick to criticize. Joe Biden expressed his support for the LGBTQ+ community, “especially the children affected by this hateful law”.
2. Disney’s complacency
When the law was passed, the Disney company, whose main park is located in Orlando, Florida, was criticized for its silence and accused of complacency with the government. Its president and CEO, Bob Chapek, met with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to discuss what was then still a controversial bill. On Wednesday, March 9, DeSantis finally justified the company’s silence: “We were opposed to the bill from the beginning, but we chose not to take a public position because we thought we could be more effective by working behind the scenes.
At the annual shareholder meeting that same day, Bob Chapek had also announced that Disney would donate $5 million to LGBTQ+ advocacy groups, including the Human Rights Campaign, notes the New York Post. A belated official statement, which came the same morning as the publication of an open letter from Pixar’s LGBTQ+ employees, revealed by Variety. The employees of the animation studio, bought by the giant Disney for 7.4 billion dollars in 2006, denounced censorship of LBGTQ+ characters and love stories between characters of the same gender.
3. Rain of laws against the LGBTQ+ community
Whether it’s the repeal of abortion rights, the slings and arrows against women’s rights in general, or those of discriminated communities, the attacks by conservative US lawmakers are multiplying. Several states have already passed increasingly threatening laws. In Arizona, since January 2022, teachers have been forced to warn parents whose children mention their gender identity, risking them being outed to their families.
On the same day in Oklahoma, State Senator Rob Standridge proposed that school libraries could soon be forced to put books on these issues in the closet. Meanwhile, an elected official in Indiana has proposed legislation requiring teachers to get parental permission before talking to students about sexual orientation or transgenderism.
States like South Dakota and Utah have also banned transgender students from women’s sports teams at school. In Ohio, a similar law also provides genital checks on children as young as 6. The same thing in the state of Tennessee; three anti-LGBTQ+ laws went into effect on July 1, 2022. Two limit transgender people’s participation in sports, and the third bans LGBTQ+ resources previously available in schools, LBGTQ Nation lists.
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