'Don't Say Gay' Bill is a License To Harm and Discriminate | Jive in the [415] Blog | Gay LGBT News Political Commentary

April 16, 2022

'Don't Say Gay' Bill is a License To Harm and Discriminate

A roadway sign that says "Welcome to Florida - The Don't Say Gay State."

By Roy Steele

If anyone wants to know the truth about Florida’s pernicious ‘Don’t Say Gay’ legislation, it’s a license to target lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer (LGBTQ) people with discrimination and violence, and it could encourage LGBTQ teens and adolescents to harm themselves.

Spring Hill, Florida is a census-designated place of about one hundred thousand people, that lies just north of Tampa. It is adjacent to Shady Hills, a small town that’s known for the homing pigeons that locals love to race.

Florida’s bombastic, shady, and divisive, Republican governor chose to stage his 'DON’T SAY GAY' bill-signing ceremony in Spring Hill when Shady Hills would have been more appropriate. Aside from his spokesperson, I’ve never heard him praised for his decision-making.

In a press release, Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) falsely claimed this unnecessary and unconstitutional bill protects parental rights in education.

Parents have every right to be informed about services offered to their child at school, and should be protected from schools using classroom instruction to sexualize their kids as young as 5 years old.

It’s a fact there is no evidence whatsoever that Florida’s grammar schools are teaching kindergarteners about sex (now or in the past). There is no evidence whatsoever that schools are using classroom instruction to sexualize five-year-olds. The governor is inflammatory and misinformed, and he clearly lied.

DeSantis continued to misrepresent the reason for his legislation with his lies and deceitful claims. He misrepresented opponents of the bill and slandered the gay community by inferring we are all child molesters.

If you are out protesting this bill, you are by definition putting yourself in favor of injecting sexual instruction to five, six, and seven year old kids. I think most people think that's wrong. I think parents especially think that's wrong.

The Parental Rights in Education Act  doesn’t mention the word GAY anywhere in the text of the bill. Yet DeSantis refuses to acknowledge that prohibiting classroom discussions and instruction related to sexual orientation (straight, gay, bisexual, etc.) is a ban on free speech. That’s how the bill became known as the 'DON’T SAY GAY' bill.

Over and over again I've heard Republican politicians insist that if a teacher mentioned anything GAY, it was a gateway to a discussion about sex. They are ignorant, stupid, alarmist, and wrong.

SEXUAL ORIENTATION and SEX are two different topics, and it's wrong to conflate the two. Sexual orientation is a trait like being a brunette or being left-handed. Sex involves genitals, and no one is supporting or suggesting that kindergarteners be exposed to ANY discussions about sex!

If a teacher acknowledges that her student Dylan has two dads, it's no different from recognizing that Isabella has a mom and dad, and Jeffrey has a mom. You don’t have to like it, but you can’t pretend that Dylan and his two dads don’t exist.

Forbidding any mention of sexual orientation is akin to censoring the use of the word southpaw or brunette. That's silly and ridiculous - right? Whether we’re gay or left-handed or have brown hair, the acknowledgment of our individual traits doesn’t require a discussion about sex or sex acts. The same is true of gender identity.

I want to be clear that gay and LGBTQ people do not advocate, support, or promote, classroom instruction or discussions about sex, to grammar school-age children. Not now and never!

The misnamed Parental Rights In Education Act is pernicious legislation that gives bigots a license to target LGBTQ+ kids and adults with violence and discrimination, and could encourage LGBTQ+ teens and adolescents to harm themselves. It’s also dehumanizing and disrespectful on every level.

This legislation is so misguided and driven by hate that the Florida governor’s chief spokesperson Christina Pushaw wrongly claimed that this was an anti-grooming bill. In a Tweet, she said, “The bill that liberals inaccurately call 'DON'T SAY GAY' would be more accurately described as an Anti-Grooming Bill.”

A screenshot of Christina Pushaw's offensive Tweet that says "The bill that liberals inaccurately  call Don’t Say Gay would be more accurately described as an Anti-Grooming Bill.”

Think about that. The Florida governor’s mouthpiece claims that acknowledging someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity in front of kids, is akin to grooming a child for sexual abuse. What The Fuck?

If Florida legislators really cared about the welfare of kids, the bill should have explicitly banned discussions about ALL sex in grades K through 5. Treat everyone and anyone equally. They chose not to do that.

The 'Don't Say Gay' legislation is problematic for singling out gay people in a nation with a Constitution that allegedly represents equality. That bill represents bigotry and inequality. Any legislation that limits or bans free speech will rightly be challenged with a lawsuit, and I can’t imagine that this bill will be allowed to stand.

The animus behind legislation like this is a huge problem because the right-wing purveyors of hate never consider the ramifications. This legislation has been discussed on television, reported in newspapers, and posted on social media platforms, and people have been talking about it. School-age students see the news and hear it. How does this impact them - and what long-term effects does it have on LGBTQ kids as they grow up and consider coming out? 

Anti-LGBTQ groups and anti-gay bullies misinterpret bills like this and target LGBTQ people with threats of violence and acts of violence.

The LGBTQ community is more targeted by hate crime violence than any other minority group in America. That’s why the repercussions of the 'DON’T SAY GAY' bill could be deadly.

Gay and LGBTQ people are human beings who should be treated with dignity and respect. Sadly the Florida governor and his spokesperson are incapable of that, which is why they pushed that bill.

Join me and the LGBTQ community and SAY GAY every chance you get. Don’t travel to or spend money in Florida! And if a 'DON’T SAY GAY' bill is introduced in your state, call your state representatives and tell them to vote no.

The world and our country are in such a funky place right now. Between the Trump years, the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and the legislative attacks on trans and queer folks, it’s hard to maintain a sense of optimism.

GAY and LGBTQ people are generally full of optimism, love, cheer, joy, laughter, creativity, and goodwill, and that will never change.

No matter how hard they try to oppress us, erase us, ban us, forbid acknowledging us, or prohibit uttering GAY, we’ll still be here sharing our creativity, spreading love, and fighting for equality.

The world would be a miserable place without our sparkle and glitter. Say GAY and be GAY every chance you get!

Gay gay gay gay gay! 

Throw glitter and be gay!

PS: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and his pretend Christian spokesperson Christina Pushaw should be followed and pursued as they travel around the state, and members of the gay community should glitter bomb them! It's harmless and non-violent and would remind them that we are here, we are many, and they will not erase us.

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