The “Don’t Say Gay” Bill Will Have Lasting Effects On The LGBTQA+ Community


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Florida’s HB 1557, more commonly known as the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill will harm LGBTQA+ youth and teachers.

In winter of 2022, Florida’s HB 1557 bill, more commonly known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, was first introduced. This bill prevents classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity through grade 12 among other restrictions. The “Don’t Say Gay” bill promotes a dangerous norm that could have lasting effects on LGBTQA+ youth and teachers. 

The “Don’t Say Gay” bill prevents all conversations about gender identity in the classroom. HB 1557 says it is “prohibiting classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity.” This promotes the idea that talking about and addressing any questions regarding a student’s identity is unacceptable, leading kids to stop seeking support. According to a study from The Trevor Project, the rate of suicide is already higher among people in the LGBTQA+ community. Bills like “Don’t Say Gay” will only further this statistic by isolating youth and cutting off their resources. 

Teachers are also put in a difficult position by this bill. Banning discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity limits what teachers can say in the classroom. HB 1557 allows parents to sue the school district if they feel a school is not obeying the law regarding this issue, despite the fact that some discussions, such as LGBTQA+ history, are unavoidable. Teachers now must walk on eggshells, scared that a comment they make will have consequences for them, their school, and their school district. Additionally, HB 1557 states it is “prohibiting a school district from adopting procedures or student support forms that prohibit school district personnel from notifying a parent about specified information”. This puts school counselors in a difficult position, as they would not be able to maintain the confidentiality which protects students and enables them to take full advantage of therapy. It is unfair to make a counselor choose between the trust of a student and their livelihood. 

It’s important to examine all the effects the “Don’t Say Gay” bill will have on different parts of the community before promoting something that could have lasting effects.