Florida’s bigoted governor, Ron DeSantis, has signed the notorious “Parental Rights in Education” (dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill) into law. The move comes after a month of scandal and media attention…all of which DeSantis loves as he continues to pander to Trump’s base.
The bill will ban schools from talking about LGBTQ topics with kids, which makes activists worry the bill could be used to ban something as innocent as a children’s book that features a character with two dads.
Republicans claim the bill is needed because LGBTQ topics should be discussed in the home and not at school, despite the ample amounts of evidence that this is a bad idea. In this scenario, a kid’s parents will get to dictate what their children know about LGBTQ people. This is dangerous because, if a child has homophobic parents, they will grow up only hearing lies like that gay people are all pedophiles who have AIDS. The bill’s sole purpose is to hurt LGBTQ people.
Fortunately, activists have vowed to fight the bill with all their power. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) released a statement saying,
“Today, Governor DeSantis once again placed Florida squarely on the wrong side of history, and placed his own young constituents directly in harm’s way – and he has done this for no other reason than to serve his own political ambitions,” said Joni Madison, Interim President of the Human Rights Campaign. “We’re staring at a new reality where LGBTQ+ students may wonder if they’re allowed to even acknowledge their own sexuality or gender identity; a reality where young people with LGBTQ+ family members may be forced to remain silent while others can speak freely; a reality where LGBTQ+ school staff may be forbidden from so much as mentioning their loved ones. The existence of LGBTQ+ people across Florida is not up for debate, and this restriction on free speech flies in the face of one of our most sacred rights. So, let’s be clear – this bill must be repealed. We are proud parents, students, and teachers, and LGBTQ+ people deserve to exist boldly and openly, just like everyone else.”
Other organizations have also released statements as well, such as the National Black Justice Coalition, a leading Black LGBTQ+ civil rights organization. David J. Johns, the executive director, said in a statement, “Shame on Florida. Our children, all children, deserve better. This legislation is a direct attack on Queer kids, undermining their mental and emotional health and fostering an environment of intolerance and ignorance. And for Black LGBTQ+/SGL kids, who already face barriers to feeling safe and supported at schools, those harms will be amplified tenfold.”