By Angelica Niedermeyer
Two weeks ago, Florida, a Republican controlled state passed The Don’t Say Gay Bill, or also known as Parental Rights in Education. This House Bill, effective on July 1, 2022, allows educators to avoid discussing topics of gender identity and sexuallity in schools.
The bill goes against the rising discussion of stating preferred pronouns and does not allow a safe space for children and teens to express themselves while learning and growing their own identities.
According to the Florida State Senate Website, “Parental Rights in Education; Requires district school boards […] to prohibit school district personnel from discouraging or prohibiting parental notification & involvement in critical decisions affecting student’s mental, emotional, or physical well-being; prohibits classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in certain grade levels; requires school districts to notify parents of healthcare services; authorizes parent to bring action against school district to obtain declaratory judgment; provides for additional award of injunctive relief, damages, & reasonable attorney fees & court costs to certain parents.”
Basically, by giving this power to the parents to avoid such topics, this takes away attention from the students and these discussions become taboo. Without talking about these relevant topics, students who are part of the LGBTQ+ community will suffer conforming to the ignorance of the schools.
Furthermore, this bill will not make students any less queer or change their gender they identify with. It is not fair to withhold these conversations because students will feel out of place and this is not healthy, but even dangerous.
Interestingly enough, Disney did not speak out against the bill at first because they did not want to make such a stance. However, following many protests from employees, the CEO finally came out to say they opposed it.
All in all, gay and trans children cannot be silenced because they are present in schools all over. Bills can be passed, but if we are not educating all children, they will feel alone. Children deserve a community to learn and grow in that accepts them for who they are.