Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” Bill

Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” Bill

Caitlin Bailey, Journalist

Even though there is still a long way to go, society has made huge leaps in progress when it comes to civil rights in recent years. However, it seems we have regressed to the way we used to view the queer community before the 21st century. In a show of extreme homophobia, the Floridian government has decided to sink lower than ever with a new bill, targeting LGBTQ students. 


Recently, Florida’s House of Representatives passed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. Without knowing the bill’s context, it sounds pretty homophobic, wouldn’t you say? Well, that’s because it is. The entire purpose of the bill is to ban LGBTQ discussions, such as gender and sexual identity, in the classroom. If this isn’t followed by the school, then parents have the ability to sue. 


Thankfully, an amendment to the bill was withdrawn which stated that administrators would be forced to out children to their parents if they identified as something other than straight. Why this was even suggested in the first place is beyond me. It is a complete violation of privacy, especially when these students are minors and may not have a safe home to go back to. 


The amendment was under the pretense of protecting children, but it was really just an excuse to be homophobic and put LGBTQ youth in a difficult position. In sociology, school is the secondary form of socialization, and sometimes, that’s the only way queer students can express themsevles. By taking that away, they are at risk of depression and anxiety, both of which they’d be forced to hide. Nonetheless, even without this amendment, the bill itself is still extremely harmful to LGBTQ youth. If it is passed in the Senate, then it will be incorporated into the next school year.


How bigoted do you have to be to endorse such a thing? How ignorant and hateful and privileged do you have to be in order to condemn and indoctrinate an entire generation of students to your skewed worldview? 


Clearly, anyone who supports the eradication of LGBTQ discussions has not read a single history book. If they did, they might be able to explain how open discussion and unbiased learning are integral to ending prejudice against minority groups. 


Let’s take a closer look at why people–namely, conservatives–believe that parents should have control over every aspect of their child’s education. This has never been a problem before, so why now? It can’t be coincidence that parents are starting to have an issue after gay marriage was legalized in 2015, or the fact that advertisements are becoming more inclusive in recent years, or representation for LGBTQ groups is at an all-time high. 


So why is there still so much hate? The simple answer is willful ignorance: when people know that there are resources to educate themselves–resources to help them become more accepting–and yet they turn a blind eye.  


School is a place where students can unlearn the harmful biases passed down from their parents. By taking away this space, younger generations will be raised with the same outdated and problematic mindsets that have caused the queer community so much pain. 


Education is critical to a student’s understanding of the world around them. By limiting their worldview, we are condemning them to a life of narrow-mindedness and bigotry. Therefore, the “Don’t Say Gay” bill is unethical and should not be supported.