SLinton McCracken, art teacher in Orange County, Florida, grew up in a small town in the Midwest where he didn’t feel human like LGBTQ until he went to college. He is concerned about Florida’s recent controversial “don’t tell gays” bill is dangerous, hateful legislation that poses many risks to LGBTQ youth in the state.
“I couldn’t walk into any classroom and see rainbow stickers on the door that said it was a safe place where you could be who you are,” McCracken said. “We have it now. This is what we are trying to create for our students. I see this law as an attempt to take away the years we put in to make it a better place for kids so they don’t have to grow up as I grew up where I thought I was all alone and then I barely made it to high school. ”
Teachers, students and the Florida LGBTQ community continue to speak out against the bill, which was signed last month the governor who supports Trump, Ron DeSantis.
National Center for Lesbian Rights, Equality of Florida and Florida Families filed a lawsuit challenging the bill, arguing it is unconstitutional. The legislation has already begun to have a blatant impact on faculty, students and the LGBTQ community, but will only take effect in July.
The billcalled by its Republican authors a bill on parental rights education, bans sexual orientation or gender identity education in kindergarten until third grade, and any instructions that are characterized as inappropriate – vague expressions that have raised concerns that the bill will be used for and intimidate the mere recognition of the LGBTQ community in public schools.
“Don’t say gay” too grants Parents have the right to sue for damages and counsel if the school district does not resolve their complaint about the child’s education, which essentially prohibits discussion of LGBTQ issues or identity. He was a teacher in St. John’s County rebuked their school district after one of the parents complained about his T-shirt with the words “Protect trans children”.
McCracken described the bill and legislative efforts spreading to other parts of the U.S. as part of a Republican-led war against gay civil rights and deeply concerned about the bill’s negative impact on students and faculty.
“As gay, I find it both offensive and offensive. It’s insulting because I don’t think there’s anything wrong with my life as a gay man, “he said. “I have a beloved husband, we have a wonderful life together. I believe that I am a good teacher and have positively influenced the students, and that I am gay not only did not harm their learning, but probably was useful to many people – not only LGBTQ + students, but also other students and those who see that I am ready to live my life openly, and that I believe that everyone should be able to live their lives with dignity and respect, and we should treat each other like other people. ”
Many other Florida teachers agree.
“The vagueness of the language in this bill opens the unfortunate door for fanaticism to continue,” said Caitlin Pierce, an elementary school music teacher in Hillsborough County, Florida. “What we are talking about is the right to be noticed and represented in the classroom. We have a lot of books in elementary school that show heterosexual couples, they have parenting characters who are moms and dads, and the like. We want to be seen in the same way as natural couples see in the media. “
The bill was allegedly instigated by Fr. lawsuit filed by parents against Leon County, Florida, who argued that the school did not participate in a discussion about their child’s gender identity emails A Democrat from Tallahassee revealed that the child’s mother worked with a teacher on how to deal with the situation.
Florida Sen. Dennis Bexley, sponsor of the bill, y remarks in the state senate, declared a large increase in the number of children coming out as gay, and drafted a bill in response. Through him political career, Baxley also fought against same-sex marriage, equated children with drug-related disorders with children of lesbian parents, voted in 2015 to allow private adoption agencies to deny placement to children with LGBTQ parents, and supported other laws against LBC.
“For me, this bill is a sign of pure hatred,” said Javier Gomez, a graduate of iPrep Academy High School in Miami, Florida, and president of his school’s Gay-Straight Alliance club. “They target a demographic that can really benefit from all these teachings about gender identity and sexual orientation, about cultural differences and learn to accept themselves as they are because many children at a very young age know who they are from are. I knew I was gay when I was five. ”
Florida already had a bad climate for LGBTQ students. And 2019 poll of GLSEN’s 848 students in Florida, found that most students were regularly exposed to statements against LGBTQ by other students or staff, and a high percentage of students reported being physically harassed or assaulted because of their sexual or gender identity. A report The Trevor Project estimates that at least one LGBT youth between the ages of 13 and 24 tries to commit suicide every 45 seconds in the United States.
“Many students who do not finish school are petrified. They’re scared, they’re terrified, ”said 17-year-old CJ Walden, a high school student in Boca Raton, Florida, and vice president of the nonprofit organization PRISM FL, which promotes LGBTQ. “A lot of students want to go back in the closet, they’re afraid to be who they are, they’re afraid to prove themselves. And now, if teachers or counselors have to go out or report to students, if a student doesn’t have an auxiliary household and now they can’t turn to adults on campus, what should they do? We remain defenseless without the necessary support, and we continue to face homophobia from our government. ”
Proponents of “don’t talk about gays” legislation are slandering campaigns to support the spread of bills to other states, including claims that Disney is trying to “sexualize our children” as part of a progressive LGBTQ program. These accusations were promoted by Chris Rufus, an employee of the right think tank who leaked videos of Disney executives claiming that Disney has “not such a secret agenda for gays”.
It’s just weeks after Disney collided criticism from staff and the LGBTQ community for refusing to file a statement against Florida’s “Don’t Talk About Gays” bill. Rufo used to work as a comrade for the Clermont Institute, which is troubling record anti-gay policies and pushing for conversion “therapy”.
“I’m also gay, so it beats me twice as hard,” says Gene Eckhoff, a history and high school history teacher in Live Oak, Florida, for 17 years. “I’m 52 years old and I’ve never seen anything like it in my life.”
Eckhoff said she was horrified not only by the passage of the bill in Florida, but also by the fact that similar legislation is being promoted in other states with most Republicans in the United States. Proponents of these bills incite homophobic hatred and take away the civil rights of the LGBTQ community under the guise of helping students and parents.
There are similar bills advance or received calls for passage Republicans in Alabama, Georgia, Ohio, Louisiana, Tennessee and Texas.
“They have unearthed these truly humiliating insults, calling anyone who disagrees with the bill a groomer and a pedophile, and this is a very serious accusation for a teacher. It basically says you shouldn’t be in class, ”Eckhoff said. “It’s disgusting. This is humiliating. Every time I turn on the news, every day in the newspaper, on Twitter or on Facebook, we are insulted every day. “