With the “Parental Rights in Education” bill signed back in February by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, many other states like Alabama, Ohio, Texas, and a dozen more have decided to follow Florida’s new bill. Some refer to this bill as the ‘Don’t Say Gay” bill; there have been controversial arguments both for and against it. In a statement by assistant professor of epidemiology, Arjen Restart stated, “The institutionalization of these bills is an overt form of structural transphobia and homophobia, and it goes against all public health evidence in creating a safe and supportive environment for transgender, nonbinary, queer, gay and lesbian youths and teachers to thrive.”
This is not the first type of restriction on public schools regarding how one chooses to live their life. In 1962 The U.S. Supreme Court banned sponsored school prayer. The only way prayer was allowed was if done so in private. In many ways, this “Don’t Say Gay” bill is similar as it doesn’t discriminate against a certain people group but rather limits speaking freely of their sexual orientation, much the same as one's limitation on open prayer. The “Parental Rights in Education” bill has been set into play to allow parents the ability to determine how they would like to introduce LGBTQ topics to their kids.
A statement made by DeSantis before the bill was signed was, “teaching kindergarten-aged kids that ‘they can be whatever they want to be’ was ‘inappropriate’ for children. DeSantis followed with “It’s not appropriate for any place, but especially not in Florida.” As Florida continues to battle protests from those who feel this bill is discriminating against their sexual orientation, other states are starting to feel the heat of upset citizens about this new bill.
One state in particular battling against limitations on one's sexual orientation is Alabama. Representative Wes Allen speaks on Alabama's version of the “Parental Rights in Education” bill set in play by Florida. A vote by the Alabama House of Representatives led to a 66-28 win against gender-affirming medications. This bill makes the act of prescribing prescriptions such as puberty blockers or surgeries, aiding in gender transformation to be punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
As states continue to revive their bills and create their versions of the “Don’t Say, Gay” bill, it may become an act that sweeps across all 50 states. With protests continuing against actions limiting not only one's voice but choices of sexual orientation, some worry about what may become banned next.
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