Viking Call

Upper Merion High's Student Newspaper


Don’t Say Gay Bill: The New Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell of Floridian Classrooms


HB 1557 or Don’t Say Gay Bill get passed in Florida. 

I am not part of the LGBTQ+ community and will never know even 1/1,000,000,000 of the struggle of being part of this community that suffer under wrongfully and abhorrent discrimination in the current day and in the past. 

Now that this important disclaimer is stated, I disagree with the Don’t Say Gay Bill with every singular fabric of my mind. This bill according to NPR mandates that “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” (Diaz).

This bill creates a problem where none existed before. This bill does not solve a problem like and instead it destroys a lot of the progress of reducing discrimination and falsehoods for the unfortunately extremely marginalized LGBTQ+ community. This bill ensures that misinformation and falsehoods will further increase in number throughout the public. This has already started to occur as a report by the Human Rights Campaign and Center for Countering Digital Hate found that “the average number of tweets per day using slurs such ‘groomer’ and ‘pedophile’ in relation to LGBTQ+ people surged by 406% in the month after the Florida bill was passed, resulting in a sharp spike in online homophobia and transphobia” (Brousseau). 

This bill promotes misunderstanding and discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community by forcing schools to not be able to serve the crucial role of informing and removing some falsehoods and misinformation in children’s minds on the LGBTQ+ community. In fact, a recently graduated student who is a member of the LGBTQ+ community said “Talking about LGBTQ+ topics helps normalize the discussions of them and erode stigmas. It equips people with the knowledge to help others or themselves were they to find they didn’t fit into the typical binary.” 

I couldn’t agree more! This bill bans this invaluable education and further erodes the perception and treatment of this community that has fought centuries for the basic right to not let who they love influence societies and others opinion and actions towards them. This group who have only recently made some advances in attaining this basic right is now threatened to have a significant amount of that progress be destroyed because of this bill. 

This bill was justified by its creators as they argued that it solved the problem of not having enough parental involvement in the discussion of gender identities at school. In my opinion, this is not a problem to begin with because parents can have discussions at home over gender identity with their children. Then, these children can get a different or same perspective over gender identity at school and they can use that to make their own opinion. Since when is providing as much information as possible on a topic be so perceived as harmful? These kids should have as much information as possible to make their own decision on this topic. 

Schools should be able to promote inclusivity on their campus to ensure that they can support all their students, including students who face according to the Trevor Project studies, “higher suicide and health risks than their cisgender or straight peers” (Diaz). 

The Don’t Say Gay Bill destroys one of the imperfect but important relative havens for the LGBTQ+ community, who according to the same studies above found that “When kids {who are a part of the LGBTQ+ community} are given access to spaces to affirm their gender identity, they report lower rates of suicide attempts”  

Why can’t schools give kids information without being restricted by lawmakers?

Why is it necessary to avoid talking about gender identity?

Why must the people of the LGBTQ+ community suffer more incredibly unjust amounts of discrimination and misinformation?

Just because of who they love. 


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