Labeled ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill: Is Gov. DeSantis right to sign?

ABC News

Fact Box

  • On March 28, 2022, Governor Ron DeSantis signed the “Parental Rights in Education” bill that opponents have labeled the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, taking issue with the portion that says, “classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.”
  • The Florida bill mentions the word ‘parent’ 32 times, ‘parental’ eight times, and ‘gay’ zero times.  
  • A March 2022 Politico/Morning Consult poll found that most Floridians support the bill (50%), while 34% oppose it out of 2,005 voters. Likewise, a 
  • A February 2022 Gallup report says LGBTQ identification in the US has ticked up to 7.1%, up from 5.6% in 2021 and 3.5% in 2012, with nearly 21% of Gen Z (those born between 1997 and 2003) identifying as LGBTQ. Bisexuality was the most common sexual identity claimed among LGBTQ Americans, coming in at 57%.
  • According to John Hopkins Medicine, childrens’ sexual development begins in a child’s first years, even infancy. Children start to have a sense of gender awareness by the age of 2 or 3, and become curious about pregnancy and the differences in bodies by preschool.

Curtice (Yes)

The bill that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law is actually officially called the Parental Rights in Education bill. The 'Don't Say Gay' part is derisive propaganda created by Democrats in Florida, then echoed by their party around the country and in the halls of Congress, and then furthered by the White House, all in an attempt to slander a perfectly reasonable Republican bill and to mislead the public. The Democrat party's enablers in the media, even some conservative outlets, dutifully picked up the misleading nickname and ran with it.

The word 'gay' doesn't appear in the bill at all. Neither does the word 'straight.' The bill, however, does prohibit Florida educators from teaching sexual orientation and gender identity to impressionable children aged four to eight. Meaning there shall be no classroom curriculum about gay, straight, bi-sexual, transexual, or any other sexual orientations or confusing gender ideology for children between this age. This is a position wholly uncontroversial until about five minutes ago. Kids that age are no more aware of sexuality than they are of the geopolitical implications of war abroad. Teachers should not be in the business of sexualizing their students at any age. 

The bill also gives parents some rights by preventing teachers and school staff from withholding information about gender issues from parents. Again, a position that should be utterly uncontroversial unless one's goal is indoctrination, not education. The bill is neither hatred, bullying, nor discrimination. To claim it is just nonsense. What is nonsense is to believe that parents should have no input over what their children are taught each day in the classroom.

Tyler (No) 

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis's decision to sign off on Florida's so-called 'Dont Say Gay' bill is utterly irresponsible and will cause nothing but tension and disappointment in the LGBTQ community. His decision appears to be an attempt to draw a line in the sand between his supporters and others.

There is little evidence to prove that kindergarteners were being taught about different sexualities. This issue has been brought to light simply to stir controversy from both sides. Many see this as an attempt by DeSantis intending to gaslight his supporters into thinking something bad is happening in the schools that is not. This rhetoric is dangerous, and the fact that it is being put into legislation should generate serious concern. 

42% of LGBT youth contemplated suicide during the pandemic. The fact that their personal lives are being hidden and looked down upon in their learning environments can contribute to that. While it is not common for schools to introduce this topic, the simple fact that it is banned in earlier grades may be discouraging to LGBTQ students. These children may not feel as comfortable seeking advice or guidance from a counselor or teacher since they are being looked down upon. 

The bill intends to place the responsibility of these conversations on the parents. However, if the parents aren't accepting of their child's sexuality or gender identity, that can be counterproductive. 39% of parents said in a 2015 poll that finding out that their child is gay would upset them. If children aren't able to talk about their lives to their family or at school, they are left with little outlets to talk about their feelings.

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