Florida has become the peak of controversy after the state legislature proposed what has become known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. This piece of legeslation bans the teaching of sexual orientation or third party genders to students. The reason behind the controversy is because members of the LGBTQ+ community believe that the bill is trying to censor the community after many years of fighting for their voice to be heard.
“I was honestly shocked when I first saw an article about the bill,” expressed Madelyn Smith, an LGBTQ+ student at Mt. Hebron. “For a while, I thought that society was moving forward with educating people about the LGBTQ+ community; so seeing things take a huge step backwards came as a surprise to me. After the initial shock wore off, I was disgusted that the government was censoring queer speech once again.”
The LGBTQ+ community fears for its future with the passing of this bill. The reason being that they believe the bill will attempt to hide or erase all the struggles and fighting the community undertook to have their voice heard.
“This bill will affect the LGBTQ+ community now and in the future by making people less aware of the struggles and history of this marginalized group” said Timothy Keogh, a bisexual non-binary student at Mt. Hebron.
Some members of the LGBTQ+ community believe that one of the reasons the legislation is being proposed is ignorance. The people trying to pass the bill fear the rapidly growing community.
“They are ignorant, so change scares them,” said Nora Owens, an asexual student at Mt. Hebron, when asked why he believes the bill is passed.
Others believe that the reason behind the proposal is because the members of the Florida legislature and Governor Ron Desantis (R) are homophobic and bigoted. Centuries of homophobia can’t suddenly be fixed in just a few decades, so they are trying to fight back.
“This bill is completely rooted in homophobic ideals and bigotry,” said Smith. “The people who passed it simply don’t like the LGBTQ+ community.”
Since the bill is taking place in Florida, the LGBTQ+ community in Mt. Hebron is still concerned about how it could affect them. Though the next generation growing up in Florida might not be taught of the history and the struggles of the LGBTQ+ community, and not certainly might not understand it.
“Because I do not live in Florida, I don’t think I would be directly affected by this bill,” said Smith. “In a few years, however, since the newer generation of children will be unaware of the nuances of the LGBTQ+ community, they might be more against it.”
Some students who used to live in Florida worry about its effects.
“I was born and raised in Florida, so it’s concerning to see this and think about all of my friends that it would affect,” expressed Owens.
After years of fighting and protesting for their rights, the LGBTQ+ community encounters yet another obstacle. The “Don’t Say Gay” bill trying to silence their voice in the Floridan education systems. They worry that it will affect the next generation into being ignorant of the history of the LGBTQ+ community, and turn them against the community. They hope the Florida legislature will vote to not pass the bill, and spare them from being silenced.