Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis has signed the controversial Parental Rights in Education bill into law. Opponents say the measure, which bans instruction on gender identity and sexual orientation in kindergarten through third grade, is anti-LGBTQ. They’ve dubbed it the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. Supporters assert it doesn’t say teachers can’t use the word “gay” and add they want to stop this instruction to kids before they’re mature enough to understand it.
Either way, young LGBTQ kids will now have no frame of reference with regard to their identity or their families being “normal.” As DeSantis himself noted during a press conference, teaching kindergarten-aged kids that “they can be whatever they want to be” was “inappropriate” for children.
Disney is promising to be part of the effort to strike down the new law. The Walt Disney Company says the bill should never have been signed into law and that it’s committed to supporting those working to get the law repealed by the legislature or struck down by the courts.
The Trevor Project – the nation’s leading advocacy organization for LGBTQ youth – has condemned the law saying it erases “LGBTQ identity, history, and culture — as well as LGBTQ students themselves.” “While I am saddened to see this harmful bill signed into law,” says Amit Paley, CEO & Executive Director of The Trevor Project, “I am inspired by the outpouring of support for LGBTQ students we have seen from parents, teachers, celebrities, and their peers. Social support is vital for suicide prevention, and I want to remind LGBTQ youth in Florida and across the country that you are not alone.”
The Trevor Project’s 2021 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health has found that 42% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year. In fact, suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people aged 10 to 24. Not because they’re LGBTQ – but because they lack support.
Everyone could use an ally, here are ways you can be a better one.