Thursday, January 05, 2023

DeSantis Administration encouraging broad interpretation of 'Don't Say Gay' law to purge books with LGBTQ characters from school libraries

DeSantis and his supporters claimed that his 'Don't Say Gay' bill was only designed to keep young kids from being exposed to "sexual instruction" in classes. A lot of us knew that was a lie. Thanks to what seems to be a deliberately broad interpretation of the bill, now a law, books with LGBTQ characters in general are being purged from school libraries in Florida.

From Judd Legum's Popular Information:

In March 2022, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) signed into law the Parental Rights in Education Act, which critics dubbed the "Don't Say Gay" bill. DeSantis angrily accused the media of promoting a "false narrative," insisting the bill does not prohibit mentioning LGBTQ people in Florida schools. According to DeSantis, the scope of the bill is limited and only prohibits "sexual instruction" directed at young students. 

"When you actually look at the bill and it says 'no sexual instruction to kids pre-K through three,' how many parents want their kids to have transgenderism or something injected into classroom instruction?" DeSantis said. "It's basically saying for our younger students, do you really want them being taught about sex? And this is any sexual stuff."

. . . Florida schools are using the law to justify the erasure of LGBTQ people. Public records obtained by Popular Information through the Florida Freedom to Read Project reveal that several Florida schools have already removed books with LGBTQ characters from their libraries, citing the Parental Rights in Education Act. Further, training materials produced by the Florida Department of Education for librarians reveal that the DeSantis administration is encouraging this expansive interpretation of the law.

 In Lake County, for example, the school district has removed three books with LGBTQ themes from libraries. The school district claimed the removal of these books was required "due to content regarding sexual orientation/gender identification prohibited in HB 1557," the Parental Rights in Education Act. These books do not involve "sexual instruction." 

One book that was removed, And Tango Makes Three, is the true story of two male Penguins, Roy and Silo, who lived in the Central Park Zoo. The pair build a nest together, and — after the zookeeper provides them with an egg — they raise an adopted child, Tango. There is no sexual content in the book. 

'AZ Gov Katie Hobbs signs executive order protecting state LGBTQ employees' & other Thur midday news briefs

Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs signs executive order to protect state LGBTQ employees as first official act - Another reason why LGBTQ Americans must never take voting for granted. Getting people elected who support us is very important