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‘Don’t Say Gay’: Explaining the Florida Bill that Seeks to Prevent the Sexualization of Children

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday took a stand in favor of HB 1557, a bill called the Parental Rights in Education and dubbed by its critics “Don’t say gay,” which aims to prevent two things: the sexualization of children in elementary schools and school districts having a greater say than parents in the education of their children (students.)

“We’ve seen instances of students being told by different folks in school, ‘Oh, don’t worry, don’t pick your gender yet, do all this other stuff.’ They won’t tell the parents about these discussions that are happening,” DeSantis said at a press conference on Feb. 8. “That is entirely inappropriate. And we need, schools need to be teaching kids to read, to write, they need teach them science, history. We need more civics, understanding the U.S. constitution and what makes our country unique, all that basic stuff.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis talks about gender theory or child sexualization debates pushed by school districts. (Video: El American)

Following Ron DeSantis’ remarks, the phrase “Don’t say gay” trended on Twitter, as Democrats, LGBT activists and the progressive press pushed the hashtag to outline the new bill in Florida as an attack on the LGBT community.

However, what does this bill actually say, is it a “hate” attack on the LGBT community as Democrats claim?

A short and clear bill

According to the text of the legislation, Florida school districts may not “encourage classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students.”

Part of the HB 1557 bill, dubbed “Don’t say gay” by its critics. (Screenshot)

The bill states that parents may “bring an action against a school district to obtain a declaratory judgment that a school district procedure or practice violates this paragraph and seek injunctive relief.”

Fourth section of the Parental Rights in Education bill, dubbed “Don’t say gay” by the progressive press. (Screenshot)

The legislation, in addition to preventing child sexualization in the classroom, seeks to strengthen the role of parents in their children’s education by preventing school districts from withholding important information from parents about their children.

One section of the legislation reads, “A school district may not adopt procedures or student support forms that prohibit school district personnel from notifying a parent about his or her student’s mental, emotional, or physical health or well-being, or a change in related services or monitoring, or that encourage or have the effect of encouraging a student to withhold from a parent such information.”

The introduction of HB 1557 legislation comes at a sensitive educational and social time, as parents across the country have shown increasing concern over controversial educational content, such as Critical Race Theory or Intersectionality Theory. Likewise, articles have been published in the national media normalizing pedophilia or even exposing children to overtly sexualized contexts such as “Kink” parades.

What have the media and Democrats said about “Don’t say gay”?

While the bill does not mention homosexuals or the LGBT community specifically, the phrase “Don’t say gay” was very successful to the point of going viral, as, both Big Tech and liberal media positioned the trend by misrepresenting the content of the bill.

This is what Twitter posted about the “Don’t say gay” trend: “Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has expressed support for the Parental Rights in Education bill, dubbed by some as the Don’t Say Gay bill, which would ‘prohibit the discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity’ in the state’s primary schools, NBC News reports.”

Some users, such as conservative strategist Giancarlo Sopo, criticized Twitter and the media for “misinforming” about the bill.

“This, from Twitter, is incorrect. The bill does not prohibit discussions of those topics. The students can bring up those topics if they choose,” Sopo wrote on Twitter. “This is the text of the bill. It does not limit what students can say. It says that school districts cannot encourage the discussions in ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS.”

Liberal-progressive national media outlets misrepresented the text of the bill to say that HB 1557 seeks to ban discussions about the LGBT community.

“Florida Senate committee passes “Don’t Say Gay” bill that would bar LGBTQ discussions in schools,” was a headline by CBS News.

The White House also joined the boycott of the bill, calling it “offensive” to the LGBT community.

Media outlets such as CNN took advantage of the criticism from the White House and President Joe Biden himself, to position the “Don’t Say Gay” trend.

“Biden tells LGBTQ children ‘you are loved and accepted just as you are’ after Florida advances ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill,” headlined CNN.

The overwhelming acceptance of HB 1557

Despite the national progressive cancellation of HB 1557 pushed by Republicans and Gov. Ron DeSantis, many welcomed the legislation with open arms, arguing that the language is most appropriate and not at all an attack on the LGBT community.

“Children should not be indoctrinated with the sexual morality of the Left in public schools. That is all the Florida bill says. And it is correct,” Ben Shapiro, editor emeritus of the Daily Wire, wrote on Twitter.

Several Florida politicians, such as Republican Senator Marco Rubio, have come out in favor of HB 1557: “I think most parents — irrespective of where you fall on the political spectrum — would say ‘Who the hell is some school to talk to my kids about things and keep me out of it?'”

Brad Polumbo, a politics writer for FEE and Washington Examiner, also weighed in on HB 1557, explaining, “As a gay man, I was alarmed by the shocking accusations against Governor Ron DeSantis over a new FL bill. Then I read the actual text of the law—and realized the alarmism has no basis in reality.”

Emmanuel Alejandro Rondón is a journalist at El American specializing in the areas of American politics and media analysis // Emmanuel Alejandro Rondón es periodista de El American especializado en las áreas de política americana y análisis de medios de comunicación.

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