Thursday, January 20, 2022

FL 'don't say gay' bill sends message of erasure to LGBTQ kids and same-sex families

Under the guise of parental rights, some Florida legislators are attempting to ban discussions of LGBTQ issues in classrooms.  

From the site Florida Politics:

A bill giving parents more information about their children’s school experience and installing more strict regulation of LGBTQ instruction for younger students received its first committee nod Thursday. The meeting featured strenuous objections from those who worry it will make teachers fearful of some topics and chill schoolhouse conversations, especially those regarding LGBTQ issues. 

 The House Education and Employment Committee approved Republican Rep. Joe Harding’s Parental Rights in Education bill (HB 1557) largely along party lines, with Democrats opposed. It is legislation some see as part of the culture wars shaping this Session’s priorities. “This bill is about defending the most awesome responsibility a person can have: being a parent,” Harding said. “That job can only be given to you by above.” .

 . . The bill prohibits schools from encouraging classroom discussions about sexual orientation or gender identity that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate. That clause drew particular concern Thursday. Critics noted some students may have parents who are hostile to the news their child is a member of the LBGTQ community and might want to confide in a teacher.

 Children from LBGTQ families might also innocently discuss their families in a way other parents would find objectionable, critics of the bill said. Harding said he understood conversations would happen, but he wanted to make sure there was no policy encouraging it. Todd Delmay, who is running for a House seat, said the way the bill is written could prevent his 11-year-old son from discussing his family at school. Delmay and his husband, Jeff, were the first gay men ever married in Florida.

According to the article, the bill is conveniently vague on the definition of what constitutes an 'age appropriate' or 'developmental appropriate' discussion.  No doubt this lack of clarification would most likely encourage confusion and discourage any discussion at all.

A bill like this is dangerous on so many levels, but most specifically, the narrative it spews should be noted. By its very nature, it pinpoints LGBTQ people as outsiders to the concept of families. It has nothing to do with parental rights. Instead it sends of message to LGBTQ parents and kids that they are to be erased and to children in same-sex households that their families are something to be ashamed of.

And no one should be fooled by anyone claiming that these bills weren't intended to send that message because they are lying to you. Telling LGBTQ families and people that they are unacceptable is exactly the message Florida's bill is meant to send.


Frank said...

I don't want to believe that the valiant struggles and marches of the LGBTQ community in the 70s and 80s and 90s have come to this.

BlackTsunami said...

Bigotry never dies. It simply changes its form. That doesn't means that it automatically wins. It just means you have to continue to beat it down.

JSH said...

Arizona has a similar bill (HB 2011) right now, which is strange because only three years ago, the Legislature ended Arizona's status as one of the few states with a "No Promo Homo" mandate for schools.
Unfortunately, the anti-gay hate group Alliance Defending Freedom (and its mini-me Center for Arizona Policy) has its headquarters in Scottsdale. Both ADF and CAP have egregiously disproportionate influence in the GOP in the Legislature...and the attorney general's office, the Arizona Supreme Court...
I know in the past, ADF has written "model legislation" for Christian nationalists to introduce in their state legislatures. I wonder if this year's "parents' rights" bills come from ADF and/or ALEC.