Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday signed into law the controversial “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which bans classroom instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity from kindergarten through the third grade.
LGBTQ rights advocates have condemned the bill for, they say, erasing and stigmatizing LGTBQ people. Critics also worry that the bill’s “parental notification” requirements would also essentially mandate that teachers out LGBTQ students to their parents.
“LGBTQ youth in Florida deserve better,” Amit Paley, CEO and executive director of the Trevor Project, which aims to reduce suicide among LGTBQ young people, said in a statement. “They deserve to see their history, their families, and themselves reflected in the classroom.”
In a 2021 national survey, the Trevor Project found that 42 percent of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year. That number rose among transgender and nonbinary youth: More than half seriously considered doing so.
Under the bill, any instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity, for students beyond the third grade, must be “age-appropriate and developmentally appropriate in accordance with state standards.”
On Monday, DeSantis dismissed criticism of the bill as “sloganeering and fake narratives by leftist politicians, by activists, by corporate media.” DeSantis signed the bill at a charter school, an institution that would not be impacted by the bill, the Hill reported.
Local LGBTQ rights group Equality Florida also slammed DeSantis for the bill.
“He has attacked parents and children in our state by invoking hateful anti-LGBTQ stereotypes all to pander to his right-wing base as he prepares to run for president in 2024,” the group tweeted in a thread. “He has made us a laughingstock and target of national derision. Worse, he has made schools less safe for children.”
The Florida bill is set to go into effect on July 1.