TALLAHASSEE, FL — (01-23-22) — A Florida GOP House committee passed their latest anti-LGBT bill entitled, “Don’t Say Gay” last Thursday.  The anti-LGBT legislation passed last Thursday bans discussions of sexuality and gender identity in school classrooms.  The passage drew immediate backlash from LGBTQ+ advocates who say the bill will effectively “erase” LGBTQ+ culture, history, and students.

“This bill will erase young LGBTQ students across Florida, forcing many back into the closet by policing their identity and silencing important discussions about the issues they face,” said Sam Ames, director of advocacy and government affairs at the Trevor Project. “LGBTQ students deserve their history and experiences to be reflected in their education, just like their peers.”

The named by the GOP, “Parental Rights in Education bill”, is being characterized as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, passed last Thursday in the House Education and Employment Committee along party lines.

“This bill is about defending the most awesome responsibility a person can have: being a parent,” said Florida state Rep. Joe Harding (R), who was responsible for introducing the anti-LGBT+ bill last Thursday. “That job can only be given to you by above.”

Joe Harding’s anti-LGBT+ bill, along with its companion bill introduced last Tuesday by Florida state Sen. Dennis Baxley (R), would block all teachers in Florida from talking about LGBTQ+ topics that are not “age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students.”

The “Don’t Say Gay” bill will allow parents to take legal action against their child’s school district and be awarded damages if they believe any of its policies infringe on their “fundamental right to make decisions regarding the upbringing and control of their children.”

Chasten Buttigieg, husband of Federal transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg, called out Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for making Florida a hostile place for LGBTQ+ youth.

“This will kill kids,” wrote Chasten Buttigieg last Thursday on Twitter. “You are purposefully making your state a harder place for LGBTQ kids to survive in.”

Article by: Paul Goldberg, Staff Writer

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