Florida’s Don’t Say Gay Bill Will Harm LGBTQ Youth and Their Families


Sarah Mueller / WSFU News

Leon students hold signs and protest the “Don’t Say Gay” bill outside the House and Senate chambers.

Dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay Bill” by the media, the Parental Rights in Education Bill will take effect on July 1, 2022, for the entire state of Florida. The bill has the intent of protecting the rights of parents in making “decisions regarding the upbringing and control of their children,” and includes a section on prohibiting LGBTQ+ themed discussions in classrooms. 

The bill states that “Classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.” This basically means that any discussion about the LGBTQ+ community in any capacity in kindergarten through third will be prohibited, and parents and school administrators can legally argue against discussions in all grades. 

This bill will mean that children with LGBTQ+ family members or parents won’t be allowed to discuss them in class, leading to the kids feeling ashamed of their own families. This will lead to a continuation of homophobia. The bill will also create an environment where children and teachers will not be able to be addressed with their correct pronouns unless they are cis-gender. Not being able to discuss the LGBTQ+ community could lead to kids being uneducated and arrogant. 

This bill doesn’t just limit classroom discussions, it includes an idea that school districts can not under almost any circumstances, keep anything about a child from their parents. This part of the bill can be used to force kids out of the closet to their families before they are ready. If a teacher knows that a kid is a part of the LGBTQ+ community, it can be viewed as something the teachers can not be keeping from the parents. If a kid is outed before they are ready, it will not only majorly harm their mental and emotional health, it can put children in dangerous situations if their parents don’t take it well. This doesn’t just affect the students related to the LGBTQ+ community, it will also dismantle any confidentiality between teacher/guidance counselor and student. 

People that are for this bill view the discussion of LGBTQ+ topics as inappropriate to students and could possibly “turn their kids gay” by being educated on the existence of the LGBTQ+ community. This concern comes from an uneducated and homophobic perspective that being LGBTQ+ is something that can be shared through information, and not as an aspect of a person that they can not change. Teaching young kids about LGBTQ+ topics isn’t going to “turn them gay” or teach them anything that would be inappropriate for a child to learn, it would only teach kids to love and respect each other’s differences in sexual orientation and gender identity. 

Many students in Florida are not taking this bill lightly. There have been multiple protests and walkouts throughout the state of Florida to go against this bill. People all around the country have spoken out against this bill and are currently fighting for their rights. Despite the backlash, this bill is still going into Florida legislation. 

The “Don’t Say Gay Bill” is among many homophobic and transphobic bills that have been put into consideration in the past few months. We are currently in an extremely important time in LGBTQ+ history.