Another Bill Targeting LGBTQ Floridians Advances as Lawmakers Do Nothing to Address Housing or Healthcare Costs

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By Giselle Balido

March 21, 2023

The proposed legislation seeks to ban classroom instruction related to sexual orientation or gender identity until the ninth grade. Opponents call it a distraction from the real problems that are hitting Floridians hard.

A bill that expands on last year’s Parental Rights in Education Act (HB 1557) which critics have labeled the “Don’t Say Gay” law, is advancing in the Senate. 

HB 1557 prohibits instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity for students in kindergarten through third grade, and at other grades when considered not “age appropriate.” 

Now, Republican Sen. Clay Yarborough’s bill (SB 1320) seeks to also ban classroom instruction related to sexual orientation or gender identity until the ninth grade. On its first committee stop, the bill advanced along party lines before the Senate Committee on Pre-K-12.

Don’t Say ‘They’

The new measure is called the “Child Protection in Public Schools” bill. But because it targets the use of pronouns, opponents are calling it the “Don’t Say They” bill. 

RELATED: DeSantis Touts ‘Freedom’ in Florida While Passing ‘Scary’ Bills That Restrict Freedom

The legislation defines a person’s “sex” as an immutable biological trait, and included in the bill is the provision that students will be taught that biological males impregnate biological females by fertilizing the female’s egg with the male’s sperm. And that this is an immutable biological fact not subject to interpretation.

Additionally, unless those pronouns “correspond to his or her sex,” employees and contractors would be prohibited from offering their preferred pronouns to students. Students would be able to choose their preferred pronouns. However, the bill bans school personnel from asking about preferred pronouns in advance. The proposed legislation also seeks to further regulate classroom materials deemed “objectionable.”

DeSantis’ Distractions

Critics of these and other measures to control education in public schools and colleges see them as nothing more than Gov. Ron DeSantis and the state Republican leadership’s attempt to distract Floridians with “unnecessary culture wars.”

RELATED: DeSantis Targets the Freedom and Privacy of Students, Asks Universities to Hand Over Transgender Medical Treatment Data

“No teacher has ever taught any kind of sexual orientation content in kindergarten or third grade, and [DeSantis] knows this, because the Department of Education is handled by the governor’s cabinet,” Karla Hernandez-Mats, who was former US Rep. Charlie Crist’s running mate against Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis during the midterm elections, told Floricua. “So, if there was a problem, it would be a Republican problem, because they are the ones that have been in power over the Department of Education.”

Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book (D-Davie) agrees with this assessment. 

“They choose to focus on these culture wars, instead of ensuring that there is affordable workforce housing, or making sure we address the insurance crisis. [They] are not making sure that Floridians are having their basic needs met,” Book told Floricua. 

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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