“Don’t Say Gay”: ‘If’ Turns Into ‘When’
April 14, 2022
On March 28, 2022, the “Parental Rights in Education Bill”, was officially signed by Governor Ron DeSantis. The bill prohibits classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in certain grade levels, and requires district school boards to adopt procedures that agree with certain provisions of law for notifying students’ parents of specified information (FLHOR). Many critics oppose the vague wording of the legislation, stressing that prohibiting all classroom discussion on sexual orientation is barring another part of LGBTQ+ history. On the other hand, supporters agree with the increase of parental involvement in student education and health matters. Just weeks earlier, protests were erupting across schools throughout South Florida, including PPCHS, against this very bill. However, now, the legislation is expected to take effect in July of this year.
“I think it’s really sad that the bill got signed despite all the protests that occurred at high schools all around our state, because we are the ones being affected by it… The bill basically bars the acknowledgment of LGBTQ people in those classrooms and I think that that is really harmful because we never really learned about LGBTQ when we were younger and we also never really learned about its history… I think it’s really slowing us down considering how in recent years the world has become a lot more accepting of LGBTQ people and I feel like the bill is trying to set us back. ” -Freshman Sofia Peralta
“Ron Desantis signing this bill does not make sense to me at all. Not only will this bill limit open-mindedness and being educated about the LGBTQ+ community, but kids in said community will also no longer feel safe. Nobody is getting benefited.” –Sophomore Anaya Phillips
“Probably the worst thing about this bill is how stereotypical it is. Sometimes, very necessary discussions of being LGBT+ are treated with dirty looks. It reflects how most people see LGBT+ people nowadays. The truth is, attraction is romantic and beautiful, and I’m tired of it not being treated that way. I’m tired of the words “gay” or “trans” or “lesbian” being seen as nothing but labels. Gay love is the exact same thing as straight love, except with two people of the same gender. That’s all.” -Sophomore Sophia Rizzo
“I was very disappointed when I first found out that the bill had been signed! …Because of this bill, kids that are part of the LGBTQIA+ community may have a decrease in their mental health in the future. If all students learn about sexual orientation and gender identity, there would be less bullying and more acceptance. I think that it’s extremely important for students to learn about these topics because hiding it doesn’t benefit them in any way, and also learning about it would help them if they begin to question their sexual orientation in the future.” –Sophomore Janessa Montilla
“Yes, I’m disappointed that the bill was still signed despite the hundreds of school protests and petitions against it. I personally know some little kids who have gay parents, and it’s sad to think they can’t bring that up in school — they won’t be able to see their families being represented. It’s also scary how little they care about the actual kids who go to schools and focus more on parents’ opinions of what should and shouldn’t be taught. It feels like this is the first step to a lot of legislation that would make the progress gay people hae tried to achieve over the years non-existent. Overall, it’s really sad, but I’m glad our generation is able to see how wrong this bill is and cause change once they’re able to vote.” -Junior Gabrielle Smith
“There are many reasons I feel that the “Don’t Say Gay Bill” is just another way to minimize a diverse learning environment for children in a society that requires such knowledge, understanding, and tolerance. The bill prohibits talks of sexuality from K-3 and while this may be useful to any inappropriate conduct in which a teacher brings up acts of sex to their classroom, the bill is too broad, and purposefully so… we know very well that in its practice, it is only meant to further limit the LGBTQ+ community for simply existing as themselves in their job. For now my final thoughts are this: the bill is incredibly useless and only serves its purpose as an erasure of any individualism that doesn’t fit a traditional view.” –Senior Adeline Rodriguez
Dubbed as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, many students and parents are concerned about the potential implications the legislation has on the future of LGBTQ+ protection and history. However, many supporters are in favor of the strengthening of parental rights, which prevents withholding gender issues from parents. After this bill was officially passed in Florida, there has been a huge trend in other states passing similar legislation. Supporter or not, it is inarguable that the future of the LGBTQ+ community is set to change.