On Monday (March 28) Florida Governor Ron DeSantis officially signed the controversial “Don’t Say Gay” bill into law. According to the Associated Press, the legislation has been widely criticized for marginalizing LGBTQ+ people, especially youth. The governor and his Republican peers claim the law “is reasonable and that parents, not teachers, should be broaching subjects of sexual orientation and gender identity with their children.”
Per the report, “the law states: ‘Classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.’ Parents would be able to sue districts over violations.”
DeSantis received applause while signing the measure at a ceremony at a preparatory school outside Tampa. Prior to his signing of the bill, celebrities have been outspoken against it.
During the 2022 Oscars on Sunday (March 27), host trio Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes, and Regina Hall took jabs at the “Don’t Say Gay” bill in the opening monologue.
“We’re going to have a great night tonight, and for you people in Florida, we’re going to have a gay night,” Sykes exclaimed as her fellow comedians repeated the word “gay.”
Last week Raven-Symoné and her castmates on the Disney revival spin-off series Raven’s Home walked off of set to protest the then-pending law.
“In support of our LGBTQ+ family and all of those who will be damaged by the ‘don’t say gay bill’ we the cast of ‘Raven’s Home’ are walking out,” Symoné wrote on Instagram on March 22. “In todays world it is imperative that we take stands, show support, and move forward not backwards. Every family every person and every child deserves to be recognized no matter their race, gender, or sexual orientation.”
After DeSantis signed the bill, President Joe Biden made a statement on Twitter directly to residents of the Sunshine State.
“Every student deserves to feel safe and welcome in the classroom,” expressed the POTUS. “Our LGBTQI+ youth deserve to be affirmed and accepted just as they are. My Administration will continue to fight for dignity and opportunity for every student and family — in Florida and around the country.”
Every student deserves to feel safe and welcome in the classroom. Our LGBTQI+ youth deserve to be affirmed and accepted just as they are. My Administration will continue to fight for dignity and opportunity for every student and family — in Florida and around the country.
— President Biden (@POTUS) March 28, 2022
In a statement issued on Monday, Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona revealed the White House’s plan of “monitoring this law upon implementation to evaluate whether it violates federal civil rights law.” The full statement reads as follows:
“By signing this bill, Gov. DeSantis has chosen to target some of Florida’s most vulnerable students and families, all while under the guise of ‘parents’ rights.’ Make no mistake: this is a part of a disturbing and dangerous trend across the country of legislation targeting LGBTQI+ students, educators, and individuals. This comes at a time when we know lesbian, gay, bisexual, and questioning students are three to four times more likely than non-LGBTQI+ students to report experiencing persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and even self harm – not because of who they are but because of the hostility directed at them. I’ve spoken to parents and families in Florida and they’ve consistently told me that this legislation doesn’t represent them or what they stand for. Instead of telling some students or families it’s not okay to be who they are, our Department is fighting for dignity and opportunity for every student and family. We will continue to prioritize getting billions of dollars of American Rescue Plan funds into schools and classrooms across the country to support the mental health and academic needs of students, educators, and families. And, we will be monitoring this law upon implementation to evaluate whether it violates federal civil rights law. As always, any student who believes they are experiencing discrimination, including harassment, at school or any parent who is concerned that about their child experiencing discrimination can file a complaint with our Office for Civil Rights.”