|Florida Gov Ron DeSantis misled people about an incident he claimed was a reason for the 'Don't Say Gay' bill.|
And here we go again with a scenario so old that I can recite it with my eyes closed.
An alleged incident takes place which puts LGBTQ people in an awful light. The religious right and its allies amplify the incident in the media, Twitter, etc. and that causes LGBTQ people to play defense. After all of the hoopla and the controversy, we discover that said incident was A. not as drastic as the religious right and its allies portrayed it or B. extensively distorted. And when the truth comes out, it's ignored because folks are too exhausted to care.
For this particular episode of the scenario, I present Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and his reasoning behind the state's 'Don't Say Gay' bill he recently signed into law.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has repeatedly pointed to the case of a family in the state's Leon County to explain the need for a controversial new law, dubbed by critics the "Don't Say Gay" bill, that bans schools from teaching about sexual orientation or gender identity, particularly to young children.
On several occasions since signing the bill into law, DeSantis has highlighted the story of a woman named January Littlejohn, a registered Republican, who says she was not fully consulted about the school's gender-affirming plan for her child.
"We had a mother from Leon County, and her daughter was going to school and some people in the school had decided that the daughter was really a boy and not a girl. So they changed the girl's name to a boy's name, had her dress like a boy and on doing all this stuff, without telling the mother or getting consent from the mother. First of all, they shouldn't be doing that at all. But to do these things behind the parents' back and to say that the parents should be shut out. That is wrong," DeSantis said during a news conference in Jasper, Florida, on Tuesday.
CNN obtained emails that show Littlejohn wrote the school in 2020 and notified a teacher that her child wanted to change pronouns. Contrary to the governor's portrayal of the story, Littlejohn also wrote that she would not stop her child from using preferred pronouns or name of choice at school. Littlejohn references these emails in her lawsuit against the school and they were reported by the Tallahassee Democrat in November.. . In an August 27, 2020, email to a teacher, Littlejohn stated, in part, "This has been an incredibly difficult situation for our family and her father and I are trying to be as supportive as we can. She is currently identifying as non-binary. She would like to go by the new name [redacted] and prefers the pronouns they/them. We have not changed her name at home yet, but I told her if she wants to go by the name [redacted] with her teachers, I won't stop her."The teacher thanked Littlejohn and asked if she should share with other teachers. Littlejohn explained it was difficult and confusing, and went on to write, "Whatever you think is best or [redacted] can handle it herself." In another email the same day, Littlejohn told the teacher, "This gender situation has thrown us for a loop. I sincerely appreciate your support. I'm going to let her take the lead on this."
"From the moment Mrs. Littlejohn first emailed her child's teacher to inform our staff of the situation, this has been handled together in partnership with clear communication. We understand that outside entities have now become involved, but the family clearly instructed the school staff via email to allow their child to 'take the lead on this' and to do 'whatever you think is the best,' " Chris Petley, Leon County Schools communications coordinator, said in a statement to CNN.