What is Florida’s ‘don’t say gay’ bills? Explained.

Florida recently introduced two bills which are being termed as ‘don’t say gay bills’ by critics. Supporters are calling them ‘ parental rights in education’ bills. These two bills recently put to legislation are the Senate Bill 1834 and House Bill 1557. These two bills state that parents should have greater rights in deciding what their children are exposed to as kids in school. Read on this article to know what these bills are about.

The ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bills Explained

This part of the bill is generating much controversy: “A school district may not encourage classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students.”

Here’s the whole story. Earlier, the Republicans had passed the House Bill 241 which was known as  the “Parents’ Bill of Rights’. It gave parents the right to  “direct the upbringing, education, health care, and mental health” of their child. However, even in the wake of this Bill, schools continued to not involve parents in certain decisions. These decisions were mostly regarding teaching of issues relating to gender identities and LGBTQ+ community. Certain loopholes in the earlier Bill were leveraged by schools to do so. This Bill intends to remedy this issue.

Apparently, some schools used policies regarding confidentiality of LGBTQ kids to keep parents out of consultation regarding these decisions. The ‘don’t say gay’ will also remove this ambiguity. It would give parents the power to sue the schools for not complying with this condition of making parents a stakeholder in all the important decisions regarding their schooling.

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Criticism

The major criticism regarding regarding the ‘don’t say gay’ bill is that it intends to prevent schools from educating children regarding gender identities. People are calling this bill as going against the progressive trends of the current American society.

The lawmakers have tackled this objection by saying that they are not denying that this bill may prevent formal teaching of sexual orientations and gender identities. However, it would nevertheless allow  informal discussion on such topics. I remains to be seen if this Bill would have to be withdrawn given the criticism it is attracting or if it will be successfully implemented.

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