Florida House of Representatives Approves Controversial, Unpopular ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill

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By Giselle Balido

February 24, 2022

Opponents of the bill call it a hateful attack on the state’s young LGBTQ population, which already faces greater risk of self-harm and suicide.

The Florida House of Representatives on Thursday approved legislation that would prohibit public school districts from discussing sexual orientation or gender identity in the classroom. The “Don’t Say Gay” bill passed in a 69-47 vote. It now moves to the Senate, where a similar piece of legislation is being debated.

This comes after a new statewide public opinion poll conducted by Research Lab (PORL) at the University of North Florida found that, among registered voters, 49% oppose the bill sponsored by Republican Rep. Joe Harding, while 40% said they support the legislation which Republicans have labeled a “parental rights issue.”

DeSantis Signals His Support

Despite this, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has signaled support for the bill that, should it become law, would bar Florida educators from speaking to primary school students about certain LGBTQ topics that are not considered “age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students,” such as sexual preference or gender identity. Parents would also be given authority to take legal action against school districts.

An Immediate Outcry

Calling it a piece of “extreme legislation” that seeks to erase LGBTQ people and history from classrooms, pro-LGBTQ groups immediately condemned the bill’s passage in the House.

“They will turn Florida into a surveillance state and give the government broad license to censor conversations about American history, the origins of racism and injustice, and the existence of LGBTQ people,” the LGBTQ advocacy group Equality Florida said in a statement.

“My biggest fear is that these kids will not feel safe in the classroom. We have to protect them from a mental health standpoint and understand that not everyone comes from a supportive, loving environment,” said Heather Wilkie, the executive director of the Zebra Coalition, an organization in Central Florida providing mental health counseling and housing services to LGBTQ youth.

https://theamericanonews.com/floricua/newsletter/

Author

  • Giselle Balido

    Giselle is Floricua's political correspondent. She writes about the economy, environmental and social justice, and all things Latino. A published author, Giselle was born in Havana and grew up in New Jersey and Miami. She is passionate about equality, books, and cats.

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