Dem Rep. Tom Suozzi Was For Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill Before He Was Against It, Maybe

Culture Wars
Dem Rep. Tom Suozzi Was For Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill Before He Was Against It, Maybe

Democratic Rep. Thomas Suozzi from Long Island is running for governor of New York ... as a Democrat. Yet, the sensible centrist thought he should express his support for Florida’s repulsive new “Don’t Say Gay” law.

Last week, Suozzi was a guest on the conservative radio show "Bernie & Sid in the Morning” on WABC. New York has only gained more Democratic voters over the past year, so New York Democrats have no compelling reason to cozy up to right-wingers. However, Suozzi bills himself a “common sense” Democrat, and presumably, it’s “common sense” to accept right-wing talking points about gross anti-gay legislation.

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Host Sid Rosenberg asked Suozzi, "I want to ask you about this Florida law, the Parental Rights Act, which prohibits teachers from talking sex, genitals, stuff like that, with kids kindergarten to third grade.”

Suozzi could’ve responded like an actual Democrat who’s read a newspaper in the past month or so, but instead he said, "I think it’s a very reasonable law not to try to get kids in kindergarten to be talking about sex. I wish it wouldn’t become such a hot button issue where people are just attacking each other – it's just common sense.”

Oh fuck you.


Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law is not reasonable. No one is reading the Kama Sutra to kindergartners. Republicans haven’t even tried to hide their true intent, which is to erase queer existence from schools. Texas GOP Attorney General Ken Paxton declared in March that Austin schools' annual Pride Week celebration broke state law. The Pride Week themes included "knowing your rights, creative expression and Pride history.” Pride, ally stickers, and flags are handed out, not dildos.

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Suozzi backtracked from his original comments. He tweeted Friday:

I would like to clarify a comment I made on the radio yesterday. I 100% do not support @RonDeSantisFL or his “Don’t Say Gay,” bill.

They are both divisive. As I said on the radio, I fully support LGBTQ people and families and the equal rights they deserve. I have a long record of doing so.

Discussions about different families are important at all ages and talking about different family structures and validating all families and children is essential. No child should feel left out because of their family structure.

I do think it is “reasonable” that kids in Kindergarten and first grade, are not taught about sex. That is plain common sense and shouldn’t require legislation. As I said, and always say, efforts at division and hot button rhetoric are destroying our discourse.

No one’s teaching kindergarteners about “sex.” Suozzi is buying the conservative argument that queer identity is overtly sexual and risqué. What’s “plain common sense” is for Democrats to affirmatively denounce legislation that has no purpose other than demonizing LGBTQ people.

Early this month, Ohio author Jason Tharp was scheduled to read kids his book It’s Okay to Be A Unicorn! at an elementary school in the Buckeye Valley Local School District, north of Columbus, but the principal informed him the reading was canceled after a single parent complained.

From the Washington Post:

“I just straight up asked him, ‘Does somebody think I made a gay book?’ ” Tharp said. “And he said, ‘Yes. … The concern is that you’re coming with an agenda to recruit kids to become gay.’ ”

It’s Okay to Be a Unicorn! is about Cornelius, a unicorn who hides his true identity because he lives in a horse-dominated society that doesn’t like unicorns. He eventually reveals his true self and is accepted by everyone. This is certainly a queer theme, but no less so than "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”

Conservatives are so overtly evil now they oppose standard Saturday morning cartoon morals. Mr. Rogers said he liked kids just the way they are, but conservatives beg to differ. They don’t think it’s okay to be different. You’d think even "common-sense” centrist Democrats could openly attack the GOP’s pro-bullying platform.

Suozzi laments that “people are just attacking each other,” but teachers and the LGBTQ community didn’t pick this fight. We elect Democrats to defend marginalized groups, not toss them under the GOP steamroller for short-term political gain. Suozzi can go fuck himself.

[City and State NY/ Washington Post]

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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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