Florida’s HB 1557, called the “Parental Rights in Education” bill by lawmakers in favor of it but dubbed by opposition as the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, was passed and just signed into law by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. It prohibits public school teachers in Florida from holding classroom instruction about sexual orientation or gender identity, and reads, “A school district may not encourage classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels.”


Opponents of the legislation insist this policy will hurt LGBTQ children, and cite studies by The Trevor Project that show that LGBTQ youth already face higher health and suicide risks than their cisgender or straight peers. Given spaces that affirm their gender identity, the kids show lower rates of suicide attempts. The Trevor Project condemned the signing of the bill saying the bill erases “LGBTQ identity, history, and culture — as well as LGBTQ students themselves.”

The law requires parents to be the first to be notified of any health or support services offered to their kids in school and allows them the chance to deny those services on behalf of their children. The Trevor Project says these provisions “appear to undermine LGBTQ support in schools and include vague parental notification requirements, which could effectively require teachers to ‘out’ LGBTQ students to their legal guardians without their consent, regardless of whether they are supportive.” And given the higher risk that LGBTQ students experience at home, this can be particularly dangerous.

Leading up to the bill’s signing, critics, which include The Walt Disney Company, lambasted Florida lawmakers for the legislation. On Monday, a Disney spokesperson said in a statement that the company hopes the law is repealed or struck down in court. Amit Paley, CEO & Executive Director of The Trevor Project, said in a statement that, “While I am saddened to see this harmful bill signed into law, I am inspired by the outpouring of support for LGBTQ students we have seen from parents, teachers, celebrities, and their peers. Social support is vital for suicide prevention, and I want to remind LGBTQ youth in Florida and across the country that you are not alone.”


Florida House Passes ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill, Would Ban Discussion of Sexual Orientation in Classrooms

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