How Florida's "Don't Say Gay" Bill Will Harm Kids And Equality
Feb 14 2022
In Florida, a bill (HB1557), nicknamed the "don't say gay bill" is making its way through the government. This will would ban discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity by teachers in primary school until 3rd grade. This bill will harm LGBT+ kids in school and is unnecessary.
LGBT+ students need a place to feel safe and schools are one of these places. A survey by The Trevor Project found that LGBT+ students in non affirming schools were more likely to attempt suicide. This bill is proliferating this problem by preventing students from talking to teachers about LGBT+ issues and preventing kids from learning that it's ok to be LGBT+. This will worsen the mental health of LGBT+ kids while solving nothing. We will also note that kids in primary school are not too young to be LGBT+. Kids can know they are gay or transgender from a very young age.
An inclusive curriculum is an important part of schools. It's good for the mental health of LGBT+ students. It helps LGBT+ students know they are LGBT+ earlier which is beneficial. For example, if a transgender person knows they are transgender earlier they can get treatment to help with dysphoria (which may have been seen as depression before) faster. It also tells non-LGBT+ kids that LGBT+ people are valid and tells them not to be anti-LGBT+. Raising kids not to be assholes should be a priority but this bill stops that and the other benefits mentioned above from happening.
One of the big rebuttals to criticism of this bill is that LGBT+ education sexualizes kids. We have written about this here but we will recap the main point. The main one is that you can learn about LGBT+ people without learning about sexual stuff in the way you can talk about a straight couple with a kid without talking about how they have sex.
Another rebuttal is that transgender education causes gender confusion. First of all, being transgender has biological causes like genetics and brain structure. Also if a kid comes out of this education transgender they were probably transgender before and just learned it. It can be hard to know you're transgender without knowing what it means or what to look out for.
One thing people bring up is that teaching about LGBT+ topics takes away parental rights this is what lawmakers say the bill is about. The problem here is that learning about equality is non-negotiable. If a parent wanted schools to stop telling kids that people of different races were ok so they could preach racism at home (almost) no one would agree with them. This is the situation we are in right now, the only difference is that it's more acceptable to hate on LGBT+ people today.
One more problem with this bill is that it sets a bad president. It would tell lawmakers in other states that stuff like that is ok and pave the road for wider bans.
To summarize, this bill will hurt LGBT+ kids and equality while solving a problem that does not exist.