The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
We’ve seen time and time again, new bills that come and go, but as recently as this week, a new bill has been proposed that has caught the eyes of many. Recently, Florida has proposed a new bill that focuses on altering curriculum within its school systems. The “dont say gay” bill has caused some uproar from both sides of the coin; some in support, and some completely against it.
The “dont say gay” bill describes the restriction of teaching students certain material that is deemed as unnecessary or inappropriate for primary aged children, and that providing students with age appropriate educational content within this is simply prohibited. According to the Florida House of Representatives, the bill is described as “prohibiting a school district from encouraging classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels or in a specified manner; authorizing a parent to bring action against a school district to obtain a declaratory judgement that a school district procedure or practice violates certain provisions of law.” Now that we understand what the gist of this bill is, what is school going to look like for students who express or identify themselves outside of the heteronormative scope? What about student’s parents who aren’t cisgender or straight?
For the vast majority of Floridians in favor of this bill, there is something to be said about why they think their opinion stands true. Implementing this bill into Florida’s school systems portrays that of a venue of control over student’s educational content. What happens inside of schools is only known between the educator and student, but with this bill, parents have more control about what their children are learning. If a parent were to find out that their child was learning about gender identity and sexual orientation, the schools who would be violating this bill would be liable for a lawsuit. This bill gives parents the power to keep their personal views aligned with the curriculum.
Some of you may be thinking, this bill is dangerous to those whose identity/orientation is otherwise not cisgender or straight. You would be correct. Implementing this bill will create an extremely isolating and unsafe environment for children, and an even more stressful experience for parents sending their children to school knowing their curriculum is targeted against their own children, or themselves. Young children are extremely impressionable, and to be implementing this bill into the school systems is going to stir up a lot of complicated feelings that these children will not be able to process themselves. Individuals navigating their life already have a difficult time trying to piece together what they stand for, who they are, and what they believe in, adding the “don’t say gay” bill into the mix is only going to make the journey that much more difficult. In response to this recent proposal, President Biden gave out a public response via Twitter.
Now this may not be the only bill in its resemblance to be proposed, or even passed and signed into law, but one thing for sure is that we can still continue the pushback in preventing the erasure of marginalized communities, and encouraging those around us to become educated on the many walks of life. Speaking about the LGBTQIA+ community should not be a taboo topic. Ensuring the safety of those within the community should not be up for debate.