The governor of Florida, Republican Ron DeSantis, has enacted on Monday the controversial law popularly known as “Don’t Say Gay” (“Do not say gay”), which prohibits talking about gender identity and sexual orientation in schools.
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“This law comes to correct something that is happening in the United States, parents are ignored in school decisions on issues of sexual education and gender identity,” DeSantis said when signing the law at a school in Spring Hill, in western California. Florida. “It is inappropriate for children in preschool and first and second grades. Parents don’t want this to happen in our schools,” said the Republican, a potential presidential candidate for 2024.
On March 8, the Florida Senate approved the controversial bill that prohibits teachers from talking about sexuality and gender identity in the classroom, a measure dubbed “Don’t say gay” by its detractors.
The project, officially called “Parental Rights in Education,” prevents teachers from addressing gender identity and sexual orientation between kindergarten and third grade. From that grade of primary education, both issues will be addressed in an “age-appropriate” way, according to the text of the project. In addition, according to the law signed this Monday, parents will have the possibility of filing lawsuits against the school district and receive compensation for damages, if they fail to comply with this provision.
This Sunday, during the Oscar Awards ceremony, the bill was joked about by actress, writer and comedian Wanda Sykes. “We are going to have a great night. And for you guys in Florida, we’re going to have a gay night,” joked Sykes, who is a lesbian.
The president of the United States, Joe Biden, has also condemned the bill, which he describes as “hateful” for the LGBT community.
Public condemnation began shortly after the bill’s introduction. Chasten Buttigieg, husband of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, was one of the first public figures to criticize him, followed by widespread condemnation from LGBT advocacy groups. Florida students have organized walkouts and have gathered in the halls of the House of Representatives to protest the measure.
The Walt Disney Company, which plays a major role in Florida politics, has suspended its political donations in the state, and workers at its theme parks have staged walkouts over lack of response to the bill by the CEO of the company, Bob Chapek.
“I do not care what they say”
“I don’t care what the corporate media says, I don’t care what Hollywood says, I don’t care what the big corporations say, here I am. I’m not going to back down,” DeSantis said when signing the law. “At the end of the day, my goal is to educate children in the subjects that are so important: Math, Reading, Science.”
The Florida Campaign for Human Rights and Equality has immediately said it will do everything in its power to prevent the application of a “discriminatory and dangerous” law that, by silencing teachers, seeks to “further stigmatize and isolate children LGBT and undermine existing protections for students in that community.”
“Today, Governor DeSantis once again placed Florida squarely on the wrong side of history and put his own young constituents squarely in harm’s way, and he has done so for no other reason than to serve his own political ambitions,” he said. Joni Madison, interim president of the Human Rights Campaign.