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Florida residents protest ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill

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Story at a glance

  • Protesters in Florida on Tuesday condemned a bill moving through the state House of Representatives that would restrict conversations about LGBTQ+ topics on school property.
  • The so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill was passed by a state House committee in January.
  • Critics of the bill include Chasten Buttigieg, who has claimed the bill “will kill kids” if it becomes law.

Protesters in South Florida Tuesday evening gathered at a local LGBTQ+ center to condemn a bill moving through the Florida House of Representatives seeking to limit discussions about sexual orientation and gender identity in public schools.

Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill, which has also been called the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, passed in the state House Education and Employment Committee in January.

The bill, introduced by state Sen. Joe Harding (R), would bar educators in Florida from talking about LGBTQ+ topics that are not considered “age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students.” A nearly identical bill has also been introduced in the state Senate.

Lana Goff, an 11th grader in Broward County, Fla., who attended Tuesday’s rally, told CBS-affiliate WFOR-TV that she’s worried the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill will worsen the nonacceptance of LGBTQ+ individuals.


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“It just should be more normalized and talked about in class and not, ‘that’s kind of a touchy subject, let’s not talk about this,’” she said. Goff added that she has been an out LGBTQ+ person since the seventh grade.

Another attendee, Tom Lander, chairperson of Safe Schools South Florida, told Fox-affiliate WSVN that the bill could prevent his organization from conducting important workshops for educators and counselors on school grounds, which the group has been doing for three decades.

Other higher-profile critics of the bill include Chasten Buttigieg, the husband of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who tweeted shortly after the bill passed in the House committee that it “will kill kids” should it become law.

Buttigieg in his tweet cited a report from the Trevor Project, an LGBTQ+ youth suicide prevention and crisis intervention group, which found 42 percent of LGBTQ+ youth seriously considered taking their own life at some point in the past year.

“What kind of state are you building where you’re essentially pushing kids back into the closet?” Buttigieg said during an appearance on CNN late last month.

Buttigieg argued that the bill has little to do with parents’ rights and really aims to erase LGBTQ+ history, culture and people.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), during a campaign stop in South Florida on Tuesday said he believed many parents are genuinely concerned about what their children are being exposed to in the classroom.

“I think a lot of parents have very strong beliefs about what is appropriate for the school system to be discussing and certainly in terms of trying to affirmatively push kids in one direction or another in some of these areas,” he said, WFOR-TV reported.


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