The White House has denounced Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay Bill” which is making its way through the Florida Legislature. 

The Florida Senate Education Committee passed the bill on Tuesday, February 8. 

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The Bill, officially named The Parental Rights in Education Bill, would restrict classroom discussion and prohibit conversation about gender identity and sexual orientation. 

Bill Designed To Attack LGBTQI Kids

In response, US President Joe Biden tweeted, “I want every member of the LGBTQI+ community — especially the kids who will be impacted by this hateful bill — to know that you are loved and accepted just as you are.

“I have your back, and my Administration will continue to fight for the protections and safety you deserve.”

The White House Press Secretary, Jen Psaki, reiterated this, saying, “Today, conservative politicians in Florida advanced legislation designed to attack LGBTQI+ kids. Instead of making growing up harder for young people, [President Biden] is focused on keeping schools open and supporting students’ mental health.”

According to the text of the bill, “A school district may not encourage 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.”

Governor DeSantis Backs Bill

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Florida Governor and proponent of the bill, Ron DeSantis, refers to it as “transparency legislation” and wants to make sure that schools are “focusing on the basics.”

“We’ve seen instances of students being told by different folks in school, ‘Oh, don’t worry. Don’t pick your gender yet. That is entirely inappropriate. Schools need to be teaching kids to read, to write. They need to teach them science, history. We need more civics.” 

In a statement, Equality Florida, a group that works to end discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation said, “This legislation is meant to stigmatize LGBTQ people, isolate LGBTQ kids, and make teachers fearful of providing a safe, inclusive classroom. The existence of LGBTQ students and parents is not a taboo topic that has to be regulated by the Florida Legislature.”

If approved by the Florida Legislature, The Bill could be in effect by July 2022.

 

If you feel distressed reading the story, you can reach out to support services.

For 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14

For Australia-wide LGBTQI peer support call QLife on 1800 184 527 or webchat.

 

 

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