Governor DeSantis Signs "Don't Say Gay" Bill
TAMPA, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) - On Monday, Governor Ron DeSantis signed the highly controversial 'Don't Say Gay' bill into law.
The law would make it illegal for a school district to encourage classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels.
"We will make sure our parents can send their kids to school to get an education, not an indoctrination....The gender bread man... so this is trying to sow doubt about kids, about their gender identity. It's trying to say they can be whatever they want to be. This is inappropriate for Kindergarteners and first graders and second graders," said Governor DeSantis.
The bill states that classroom instruction by school personnel on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in Kindergarten through third grade. It also states that instruction on these topics that are not age or developmentally appropriate will be considered in all grades.
"Here I stand. I'm not backing down," said DeSantis.
Under the law, school administrators would be required to let parents know if a student is reaching out to them for health services related to gender and sexuality issues.
Trevor James is the president of PFLAG Tampa, an organization supporting LGBTQ rights. He says the bill is making sexual orientation and gender identity taboo topics.
"What it is doing is outing these kids to their guardians, where that could very well put them in a very dangerous situation. We're going to have this shift of kids were once able to go to a teacher who had a safe place sticker on their door, or in their window and talk to that teacher about something that may have just happened at home. 'Hey I just had this conversation with my family and they were not supportive of me but I need to talk it out.,'" said James.
James says may children piece together their sexual orientation and gender identity at a young age…and because of this new law, he says Florida will see an increase in students with depression, anxiety, and suicidal attempts.
"Doesn't matter what level the school board is at, they should be able to go to that individual and have any conversation they want because ultimately this is a learning environment," said James.
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