Florida’s Don’t Say Gay Bill and It’s Implications

Caitlyn Wilson, Staff Writer

What is it about?

The Don’t Say Gay bill is actually titled Parental Rights in Education banns discussion of sex in kindergarten through third grade. Grades beyond third are also banned unless it is deemed age-appropriate or developmentally important. The part of the bill that would allow parents to sue if they believed improper topics were being discussed in schools is awaiting Gov. Ron DeSantis’ signature. This is scheduled to happen on July 1st. There was a portion of the bill that would have required teachers to tell parents within 30 days of finding out a student identifies as a part of the LGBTQIA community, but it was pulled in February. As it is right now, teachers and school staff are not allowed to withhold information about gender issues with their kids from parents.  

What could this mean for the future?

Other states are following Florida and are considering passing similar bills. For example, a bill in Kansas, if passed, would consider it a transgression if a teacher used homosexual material in their class, whether that comes in the form of a sexually-explicit description or if it is celebratory. This can because some disturbances because if a History teacher wanted to or needed to teach a specific subject that mentioned homosexuality they would not be able to teach that subject. This can cause many people to become upset, noticeably the LGBTQIA community because erasing the community’s past and how hard they have struggled to have the rights they have now can cause individuals already struggling to feel alienated and to hide who they really are. This creates the illusion that the schooling process worked and now they are no longer homosexual when, in reality, all they accomplished was traumatizing students and causing them to feel unsafe about themselves so that they won’t make people, teachers, and parents who are pressuring them to be staring, upset.

In Tennessee, people are considering a bill that would stop teachers from using materials such as textbooks and videos that mention “gay, bi-sexual, or transgender issues or lifestyles.” This, again, diminishes how much information about the struggle the LGBTQIA community has gone through which may cause students to feel alienated and to hide a crucial part of who they are.

What is Disney’s role in all of this?

Disney plans on halting their donations to Florida in response to Florida passing the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. This is significant because Disney has donated nearly $300,000 to the Florida government in the past two years.  Disney has apologized for their silence on the matter as they had continued to donate toward the government which upset many of their employees. Disney’s CEO has claimed that even though they are donating toward the government, they have no say in how that money is used to fund different projects, such as the Don’t Say Gay bill. Disney’s CEO wrote an apology letter and sent that to the Disney employees and posted it on Disney’s website.