Lambda Legal Condemns Passage of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” Bill

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March 8, 2022

The Florida state legislature today passed Senate Bill 1834 (House Bill 1557), known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, broad and vague legislation that would ban discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grades or where “not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students,” effectively erasing LGBTQ+ students, families, and LGBTQ history. The bill would also force teachers and other school administrators to “out” LGBTQ+ young people to their parents or guardians, potentially putting them at risk of harm. Governor Ron DeSantis is expected to sign the bill into law, which will then go into effect on July 1, 2022.

Former Teacher, Senior U.S. Department of Education Official, and Lambda Legal CEO, Kevin Jennings has issued the following statement: 

“Let’s be clear: This bill is not about improving the well-being of our young people.  Instead, this bill will further stigmatize, marginalize, and isolate a group of already vulnerable young people who experience disproportionate rates of harassment and violence in school. Instead of erasing LGBTQ+ youth and their families, lawmakers should be working with school administrators and educators to ensure all students are safe, welcome, and have equal access to education. In a calculated political move ahead of state elections, politicians in Florida, like in states all over the country, are playing politics with the lives of LGBTQ+ youth by making them pawns in a bid for power. Without a doubt, these deplorable actions protect no one but rather give the ‘green light’ to teach intolerance, allow harassment, and fail to confront violence against LGBTQ+ youth and their families.

“Just like recent actions in Texas that encourage surveillance and harassment of transgender young people and their families, this bill and others like it, serve only one purpose: To erase LGBTQ+ people from every facet of public life. In response we have a message for LGBTQ+ youth in Florida, to transgender youth in Texas, and to LGBTQ+ people everywhere: You are not alone and we will fight for you.”