News (USA)

GOP wants to expand Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law to target teens & transgender kids

Gov. Ron DeSantis signing the Don't Say Gay bill
Gov. Ron DeSantis signing the Don't Say Gay bill Photo: Screenshot/Facebook

A Florida Republican thinks the state’s “Don’t Say Gay” law doesn’t go far enough and wants to expand it.

The state’s anti-LGBTQ+ “Parental Rights in Education Law,” which was signed into law last year by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), bans the state’s schools from teaching about LGBTQ+ history and issues in grades K­­–3 and restricts the teaching of those issues “in a manner that is not age-appropriate” up to grade 12.

Earlier this week, state Rep. Adam Anderson (R) filed House Bill 1223, which would expand the law to ban “classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity” in pre-K through the eighth grade. It would also expand the law to apply to private and charter schools as well as public schools, and requires all public schools to acknowledge that “a person’s sex is an immutable biological trait and that it is false to ascribe to a person a pronoun that does not correspond to such person’s sex.”

The bill would also require teachers to call students by pronouns that align with the sex they were assigned at birth.

In a statement, Anderson said that the bill “promotes parental rights, transparency, and state standards in Florida schools. It requires that lessons for Florida’s students are age-appropriate, focused on education, and free from sexualization and indoctrination.”

Equality Florida Public Policy Director Jon Harris Maurer responded to the bill in a statement on Tuesday.

“Don’t Say LGBTQ policies have already resulted in sweeping censorship, book banning, rainbow Safe Space stickers being peeled from classroom windows, districts refusing to recognize LGBTQ History Month, and LGBTQ families preparing to leave the state altogether,” Maurer said. “This legislation is about a fake moral panic, cooked up by Governor DeSantis to demonize LGBTQ people for his own political career.”

“Governor DeSantis and the lawmakers following him are hellbent on policing language, curriculum, and culture,” Maurer continued. “Free states don’t ban books or people.”

“The DeSantis regime isn’t satisfied with a hostile takeover of traditional public schools,” he said of the bill’s expansion to include private and charter schools. “They envision a future where LGBTQ families have no school choice to find dignity or respect.”

It’s widely assumed that Gov. DeSantis will run for president on his right-wing education platform. Presidential candidate Nikki Haley has said that Florida’s law doesn’t go far enough and Donald Trump suggested changing federal law to punish any teachers that discuss trans identity in the classroom.

Numerous medical and mental health studies and associations have found hat affirming the gender identities of trans youth reduces their mental anguish and suicidality.

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