Parental rights is code for “don’t say gay”

It’s lunchtime and you are talking to your friends about something that happened to you regarding your sexuality, gender, or race. You don’t realize, but a teacher walked past during your conversation and overheard. This probably doesn’t mean anything to you. Soon in Florida and other states this could be dangerous to students if the law requires teachers to “out’ their students. 

Florida is in the process of reverting back to outdated policy similar to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (a repealed ban on LGBTQ+ people coming out in the military) which would make it incredibly difficult in schools to discuss Critical Race Theory and the LGBTQ+ Community, or anything parents deem unacceptable. 

Formally, this bill, that has recently passed the Florida House Committee, is called The Parental Rights in Education Bill. It would give parents a way to sue schools if their kids are talking about something they don’t like. It would also give teachers legality in outing students to their parents.

“Erasing LGBTQ+ presence from schools may imply to students that their gender identity or sexual orientation is something to be ashamed of or hidden,” stated Kiara Alfonseco of ABC News. School should be a place where students feel safe and are able to learn. This bill will revert to pushing kids to stay in the closet. 

According to 19th News’ Kate Sosin’s recap of the Trevor Project’s national report, “While 12 percent of White queer youth reported attempting suicide over [2021], 31 percent of Native/Indigenous youth reported attempts. For Black youth that number was 21 percent, and Latinx kids reported attempts at 18 percent; 21 percent of multiracial youth made attempts, as did 12 percent of Asian American and Pacific Islander youth.” This is directly related to having an unsupportive environment, which this bill would encourage. 

The Florida bill is designed to make parents more involved in their childrens’ education, but really it will make school far more unsafe for students.

“This is extremely concerning. Students have the right to learn about our history and teachers shouldn’t fear punishment for teaching it,” CVHS history teacher Sarah Burke stated.

 With the transphobic legislation that is occurring in many states — banning transgender athletes, banning transitioning, etc. — LGBTQ+ kids are at an even higher risk. Only 21 states have full nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people. Not only is there a lot of new anti-LGBTQ+ policy, many states have introduced legislation banning Critical Race Theory in schools. 

“[This same bill] in Florida would ban public schools and private businesses from making people feel ‘discomfort’ when being taught about racial discrimination in U.S. history,” reported Alfonseca. South Dakota is calling its version of this “Protect Students From Critical Race Theory.”

Florida is not the only state engaging in these racist and homophobic policies. Arkansas, Idaho, Iowa, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, and Tennessee have already passed bans on Critical Race Theory in some form. Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin also currently have bills moving through legislation that aim to limit Critical Race Theory and/or discussion of LGBTQ+ topics. 

This will prevent students from learning about America’s true racist history and present, and will make non-white and LGBTQ+ students unsafe. As Carter Godwin Woodson stated in The Mis-Education of the Negro, “There would be no lynching if it did not start in the classroom.”

5 thoughts on “Parental rights is code for “don’t say gay”

  • March 15, 2022 at 8:38 am

    I think that the don’t say gay bill is RIDICULOUS and from what I have heard, it is something to try and not educate people about the LGBTQ+ community and why we should NOT be ignorant towards them. I think that people should NOT be ignorant towards the LGBTQ+ community. I think that not only the don’t say gay bill is ridiculous, but also ANY bill that tries to get rid of education that tries to prevent education of racism and sexism and other things like that because one or two people may feel “discomfort” is ridiculous. When I have been taught about how bad racism is, I knew that it was NOT right, and I think that we need to be educated about racism. I think that EVERYONE NEEDS TO KNOW TO TREAT OTHERS WITH RESPECT, REGARDLESS OF RACE, GENDER, OR OTHER PARTS OF IDENTITY. I know that racism is still a problem today, because racist murderers such as Derek Chauvin for example get away with very light sentences.

  • March 3, 2022 at 2:04 pm

    I didn’t know that so many states are trying to/ have limited Critical Race Theory or LGBTQ+ topics. It’s awful that people want to limit how much kids know America’s true history and how much they talk about/mention LGBTQ+ topics. Also, these laws seem like they contradict the first amendment(freedom of speech).

  • February 24, 2022 at 11:04 am

    I think this article gives such good information on the statistics of being a part of the LGBTQ+ community and being an LGBTQ+ person of color. It shows great representation. Thank you for putting out information about the dangers of the don’t ask don’t tell policies, this is going to put a huge struggle on people and teens still in the closet and it can cause huge safety issues for people in the community. I would love to hear more about this, especially the texas lawmakers investigating parents of trans children for child abuse.

  • February 23, 2022 at 12:13 pm

    It is very scary that this homophobic bill or limiting Critical Race Theory was even brought up. To “protect” children from real life and factual things because you are uncomfortable with or against it is ignorance. Interesting that the people who claim America is really the land of the free are actually limiting people from freely being themselves and openly talking about their sexuality. Very insightful article, Rebecca!

  • February 22, 2022 at 1:09 pm

    Great article Rebecca. I’m noticing some hypocrisy here within some conservatives; yes to suing schools for speaking up on social matters, no to punishing hate speech. Interesting!

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