Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill is pointless and puts kids in harm’s way

Jordan Reid is the founding editor of Ramshackle Glam.
Liberal Opinion

Jordan Reid

Author; Founding Editor, Ramshackle Glam
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Florida’s new legislation that critics call the “Don’t Say Gay” bill has been the subject of heated debate even before Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed it into law in March. Even the Walt Disney Company, one of the largest employers in the Sunshine State, has been embroiled in the controversy. State lawmakers revoked the company’s self-governing privileges in Orlando after Disney CEO Bob Chapek spoke out publicly against the new law. Straight Arrow News Contributor Jordan Reid argues Florida’s children will feel the real negative impacts of the bill, which she claims tries to solve a problem that doesn’t exist.

First, sex education has been already been banned in Florida up until the fifth grade, making this bill a solution for a problem that doesn’t exist. it suggests there is some enormous conspiracy where kindergarten teachers are running around trying to convince kids to go gay, if such a thing were even possible – which it’s not. 

Second, it doesn’t lay out clear parameters, making it really easy to claim that those parameters are being violated. Can a teacher display a photograph of their same-sex partner on their desk? Can they ask to be referred to by their chosen pronouns? What if there is a gay character in a high school English class book? Or what if a parent simply suspects that there are homoerotic undertones in some parts of their child’s literature? Can that be banned?

The bill doesn’t define terms like “age appropriate,” “classroom discussion,” or “developmentally appropriate,” so who knows what’s legal!

Third, it empowers parents to open lawsuits against schools, incentivizing schools, most of them, that can’t afford said lawsuits to forbid all potentially inflammatory material in order to avoid potential conflict. Teachers who aren’t quite sure of the law’s parameters — again, most of them — are likely to over-censor themselves out of fear of violating the law.

Fourth, and most chilling, it virtually eliminates the support system for children who may be struggling with their gender identity — and to underscore just how big of a problem this has the potential to be, here are some statistics for you:

       According to the gay, lesbian and straight education network: 

    • LGBT individuals account for 30% of all suicides each year. (Lambda Legal)
    • Greater than 50% of transgender youth attempt suicide. (University of NH)
    • Roughly 34% of LGBTQ youth report suffering physical violence from their parents as a result of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. (GLSEN)

TL;DR: This bill violates the constitutionally protected rights of free speech, equal protection, and due process. It explicitly targets the most vulnerable members of the population, placing them in even greater danger. And as of this taping, about half a dozen conservative-led states are putting the pieces in place to pass their own versions of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law. 

Young people — and especially young people in the LGBTQ community — don’t just “deserve” welcoming and safe communities…they may require them, if they’re able to navigate the already-challenging morass of adolescence.

We – parents, educators and politicians – need to do better than this.

Oh, Florida. You exhaust me so. 

In one of just many, many examples of Florida being the geographical equivalent of your drunk, racist uncle spouting off at the Thanksgiving table, governor Ron Desantis signed into law the Parental Rights in Education Bill, commonly known as the “Don’t Say Gay” law.

What this law means: LGBTQ discussions in public schools are severely limited. It bans instruction or classroom discussion about LGBTQ issues between kindergarten through third grade. Discussions with these issues for older kids must be “age or developmentally appropriate,” which isn’t vague at all and certainly won’t be used egregiously.

Proponents of the bill use Fear Factor techniques, positioning the libs as horrible, manipulative child-haters. Take it from Big Ron himself:

[SOUNDBITE from Desantis about how detractors of the law are “for” sexualizing kindergarteners.]

Yeah, I don’t think liberals are super invested in supporting pedophilia. But this is a well-worn tactic of the far right: If you’re “for” vaccine mandates or you’re for  discussions about racial identity, you are also “for” stifling children’s social development, or “for” making white children feel bad about their race. 

Let’s do a rundown of the problems with this bill: 

First, sex education has been already been banned in Florida up until the fifth grade, making this bill a solution for a problem that doesn’t exist. it suggests there is some enormous conspiracy where kindergarten teachers are running around trying to convince kids to go gay, if such a thing were even possible – which it’s not. 

Second, it doesn’t lay out clear parameters, making it really easy to claim that those parameters are being violated. Can a teacher display a photograph of their same-sex partner on their desk? Can they ask to be referred to by their chosen pronouns? what if there is a gay  character in a high school English class book? Or what if a parent simply suspects that there are homoerotic undertones in some parts of their child’s literature? Can that be banned?

The bill doesn’t define terms like “age appropriate,” “classroom discussion,” or “developmentally appropriate,” so who knows what’s legal!

Third, it empowers parents to open lawsuits against schools, incentivizing schools, most of them, that can’t afford said lawsuits to forbid all potentially inflammatory material in order to avoid potential conflict. Teachers who aren’t quite sure of the law’s parameters – again, most of them – are likely to over-censor themselves out of fear of violating the law.

Fourth, and most chilling, it virtually eliminates the support system for children who may be struggling with their gender identity – and to underscore just how big of a problem this has the potential to be, here are some statistics for you:

According to the gay, lesbian and straight education network, 

  • LGBT individuals account for 30% of all suicides each year. (Lambda Legal)
  • Greater than 50% of transgender youth attempt suicide. (University of NH)
  • Roughly 34% of LGBTQ youth report suffering physical violence from their parents as a result of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. (GLSEN)

TL;DR: This bill violates the constitutionally protected rights of free speech, equal protection, and due process. It explicitly targets the most vulnerable members of the population, placing them in even greater danger. And as of this taping, about half a dozen conservative-led states are putting the pieces in place to pass their own versions of Florida’s Don’t Say Gay law. 

Young people – and especially young people in the LGBTQ community – don’t just “deserve” welcoming and safe communities…they may require them, if they’re able to navigate the already-challenging morass of adolescence.

We – parents, educators and politicians – need to do better than this.

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