Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill attacks LGBTQ+ youth



Jahlil Rush, Production Assistant

American LGBTQ+ youth have a tough time growing up in a country where many states are still trapped in a homophobic mindset. Florida’s new so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill highlights conservative America’s inability to adapt to the times and the growing LGBTQ+ community.

A Florida House committee voted to pass the “Parental Rights in Education” bill, prohibiting any discussion of sexuality and gender identity in an educational setting.

“This bill is about defending the most awesome responsibility a person can have: being a parent,” Rep. Joe Harding, who introduced the bill said. “That job can only be given to you by above.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has shown signs of supporting the bill, which comes as no surprise.

For the LGBTQ+ community, their journey for the same rights as their heterosexual counterparts was a struggle and started with the Stonewall Riots in 1971. When the legalization of gay marriage was passed in June 2015 through the milestone Obergefell v. Hodges case, it was a memorable moment in history because it showed a rare glimpse of America’s progress.

Bills like “Parental Rights in Education” must be called out for what they are: bigotry on paper. While the Biden Administration did not use that word exactly, they did release a statement denouncing the bill, ABC News reports.

“Every parent hopes that our leaders will ensure their children’s safety, protection, and freedom,” the White House said in a statement. “Today, conservative politicians in Florida rejected those basic values by advancing legislation that is designed to target and attack the kids who need support the most – LGBTQI+ students, who are already vulnerable to bullying and violence just for being themselves.”

The White House smartly continued its statement by acknowledging the multi-layered attack on education that the current Republican Party has started.

“But make no mistake – this is not an isolated action,” The White House said. “Across the country, we’re seeing Republican leaders take actions to regulate what students can or cannot read, what they can or cannot learn, and most troubling, who they can or cannot be.”

Florida’s recent bill is not an isolated piece of legislation that attacks education in America. The GOP has already declared war on Black American history being taught in school. Any Nov. 2022 midterm voter who plans on marching to the voting polls should have this in mind when casting their ballots.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg’s husband, Chasten Buttigieg, rightfully blamed DeSantis for making Florida an unsafe place for LGBTQ+ youth.

“This will kill kids … You are purposefully making your state a harder place for LGBTQ+ kids to survive in,” Buttigieg tweeted.

This bill symbolically tells kids that they are not allowed to voice their LGBTQ+ status, thus telling them that they are not allowed to have an identity that is true to themselves. The animosity of the bill may lead to higher rights of suicide or mental health issues among LGBTQ+ people.

According to a Trevor Project national survey, 42% of LGBTQ+ youth considered suicide in the past year alone. That is too many kids who saw death as the only option to ease their pain instead of being able to confide in a trusted adult without being judged.

Politicians are supposed to preach acceptance and encourage community bonding since they are leaders of those very communities. Florida’s GOP should be disqualified to serve office if bills such as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill are justified in being brought to the table.

Florida’s GOP could take a lesson on acceptance from Biden, who went to Twitter to acknowledge the LGBTQ+ community and assure them that they are accepted.