Florida LGBTQ Hate Bills Want Some Bigot To Have 'Parental Rights' Over Everybody Else's Children

Florida LGBTQ Hate Bills Want Some Bigot To Have 'Parental Rights' Over Everybody Else's Children

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and his cronies in the Republican-controlled state Legislature are self-proclaimed champions of "parental rights" in education. They called their bigoted "Don't Say Gay" law a "historic bill to protect parental rights in education" that "reinforces parents’ fundamental rights to make decisions regarding the upbringing of their children." It was very important to Republicans, not just in Florida but in more than a dozen states with similar gross laws, that parents maintained their inalienable right to treat their kids horribly.

However, despite the Right's absurd "groomer" narrative, most teachers aren't randomly declaring students trans in open defiance of their parents. While this concept might confuse and horrify Matt Walsh and Ben Shapiro, there are many supportive parents who love their trans children for who they are and respect their gender identity. Scared bigots shouldn't freak out, though, because Florida's got their back!

The Republican-controlled Legislature now wants to restrict the use of peoples’ personal pronouns to those aligned with the sex assigned on their birth certificate, and they're starting with public schools. No, it doesn't matter if parents have approved their kids' preferred pronouns. Laughably, this proposed law builds off their so-called "Parental Rights in Education Act," so we guess when Republicans were yakking about "parental rights," they meant .... other parents or even childless adults who really hate trans kids.


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Florida school districts had already changed their "pronoun policy" after DeSantis signed "Don't Say Gay" into law. Trans students were required to provide parental permission to use their preferred pronouns at school. You can't put too fine a point on this: Clearly Republicans were surprised to learn that not every parent was as hateful and cruel as they are. So now Republican state Sen. Clay Yarborough of Jacksonville hopes to correct their mistake with SB1320, perversely named "Child Protection In Public Schools," which would go the full Michael Knowles and erase trans identity in schools.

“While the scenario could be brought up about a particular student’s mom and dad being OK with them using a pronoun,” Yarborough said, “you might have 19, 20 or 24 other kids in a classroom whose parents may not be OK with them being introduced to that.”

Here's the notable, chilling language:

Defining the term “sex”; prohibiting an employee, contractor, or student of a public school from being required to refer to a person using personal titles or pronouns that do not correspond with that person’s sex

This is a pro-bullying, American Asshole First bill. It would also prohibit school employees from "(providing) students his or her preferred personal title or pronouns." So, if you're trans, you must submit to being misgendered all day. Polite society would classify this as a hostile work environment.

Republican House Speaker Paul Renner from Palm Harbor told the Miami Herald, "We have global competition, and frankly global adversaries, and so we need to make sure all of our time, all of our attention is really focused on education excellence and not some left-wing wish list of what kids should learn in school — or right-wing wish list."


Studies have shown that gender-affirming language reduces depression and suicide risk among trans kids. (It wasn't a complicated study.) I think we can treat trans kids humanely and still compete with China.

This bill is the latest in the Republican onslaught against queer people. A proposed state Board of Education rule, scheduled for a vote next month, would extend "Don't Say Gay" to 12th grade, and any teacher caught providing "classroom instruction" on sexual orientation or gender identity could face suspension of the loss of their licenses (in the latter event, they could always go work at a charter school). These grotesque laws are written as if teachers are leading discussions about butt plugs and strap-ons, but in reality, "Don't Say Gay" prohibits teachers from assigning students any book with queer themes or characters.

There's also HB1421, which would ban health insurance coverage for all trans procedures.

Florida is not a safe place for the LGBTQ community, especially trans children, and suggesting that queer people flee the state is not a sustainable option. We should also consider the undue personal and financial burden. Like your average middle-aged man who lives an exciting life, I often check out Redfin house listings. Last year, our neighbors down the street sold their home for a ridiculous amount, several hundred thousand above asking. I thought the buyers were suckers, but when I met them, I realized why they were so motivated: They were from Texas and their teenage daughter is trans. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is eager to pass the state's own (worse) version of "Don't Say Gay." Michael Knowles was gloating this week about a Texas House bill that would ban gender-affirming surgery for anyone under 26.

My neighbors are refugees within their own country. It's shameful, and I hope ghouls like Knowles choke on their champagne when celebrating these (ideally short-lived) victories.


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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."


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