Florida’s highly controversial ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill has been signed into law by the state’s Republican governor, Ron DeSantis.
The legislation, which is officially called the Parental Rights in Education bill, will restrict “classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students.”
LGBTQ+ activists are fearful that it could totally limit any discussions or lessons on identity, the community’s history and the oppression it has faced – prompting its ‘Don’t Say Gay’ nickname.
Should parents believe the measures listed in the law are being violated, they will have the ability to sue school districts.
DeSantis signed it into law on 28 March in a staged ceremony which saw him surrounded by a group of children, some of which held signs saying “protect children, support parents”.
“It’s not something that’s appropriate for any place, but especially not in Florida,” he said during the press conference.
He added that students learning “they can be whatever they want to be” was “inappropriate” and an issue the legislation would resolve.
— Rep. Carlos G Smith (@CarlosGSmith) March 28, 2022
Rep. Carlos G. Smith assured the LGBTQ+ community that the “battle against #DontSayGay is far from over.”
“To those LGBTQ youth in Florida and around the world struggling to find support, just know that you are loved exactly the way you are and we’ll continue to fight for you every single day because your lives are worth fighting for,” he added.
The bill being signed was also swiftly condemned by Disney in a statement which said it “should never have been passed and should never been signed into law.”
“Our goal as a company is for this law to be repealed by the legislature or struck down by the courts, and we remain committed to the supporting the national and state organisations working to achieve that,” it added.
During a virtual briefing hosted by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) last week, Florida State Sen. Shevrin Jones said: “This is another stain on Florida’s history, and history will hold every last one of them accountable.
“We will be held accountable with what we say and what we don’t say, and that’s why I am here today.
“We are going to push back now, and we are going to continue to push back until we let it be known we have a right to be here, and we have a right to raise our families in the same communities that they are allowed to raise their families in.”
According to the HRC, more than 300 anti-LGBTQ+ bills are currently being put forward across the United States – some of which are similar to Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ legislation.