Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has recently added more victories to his agenda targeting the LGBTQ+ community following a state board approving the expansion of the controversial “Don’t Say Gay” law, while the House passed bills on gender-transition treatments, bathroom use, and keeping children out of drag shows.
The Board of Education approved a ban on classroom instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity in all grades, expanding the law that already banned these lessons up to grade 3, a move that DeSantis requested as part of his aggressive agenda as he gears up for an expected presidential run.
The proposed rule change will prohibit lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity from grades 4-12, except when required by existing state standards or as part of reproductive health instruction, which students can opt out of.
According to an education department spokesman, the proposal will take effect after a procedural notice period of about a month.
In response, LGBTQ+ rights activists argue that this prohibition marginalises LGBTQ+ people and has vague terms that result in self-censorship from teachers.
President Joe Biden has also called out the law describing it as “hateful.”
Along with the expansion of the controversial “Don’t Say Gay” law, Florida’s House also passed a bill making it a felony to provide gender-affirming health care to transgender minors and a bill that will ban people from entering bathrooms other than their sex assigned at birth – another DeSantis priority.
Republicans supporting the bill argued that gender is binary, with one male and one female sex, and that providing gender-affirming care can be harmful to children. On the other hand, Democrats argued that ignoring gender dysphoria in children can be psychologically damaging and that parents and doctors should decide on treatment, not the government.
DeSantis’ moves have not gone unnoticed by both sides of the political divide, including other Republican presidential hopefuls, such as former President Donald Trump, who have been attacking DeSantis’ leadership.
DeSantis has also been criticised for his ongoing feud with Disney, who publicly oppose the e “Don’t Say Gay” legislation and are one of the state’s largest employers and political donors.
Last Updated on Apr 20, 2023