We invited Buck Angel, LGBTQ+ activist and porn star, onto LustCast to discuss Florida’s controversial “Don’t Say Gay” bill. The bill would restrict teachers from discussing non-heterosexual orientations in schools, but opponents argue it’s an attempt to silence LGBTQ+ issues. Read our explainer of the bill below.
If you’ve been on social media lately, you might have seen the hashtag #DontSayGay trending. What’s it all about, you ask? Well, it’s related to a controversial bill that was recently proposed in the Florida state legislature.
The bill, which is officially known as SB 1557, is being called the “Don’t Say Gay” bill because of a provision that would ban teachers from discussing homosexuality, bisexuality, and other non-heterosexual orientations in public schools.
Now, before we get into the nitty-gritty of this bill, let’s clear up some of the confusion that’s been floating around on social media. First of all, this bill has not been signed into law yet. It’s currently in the early stages of the legislative process, and it’s not clear whether it will actually make it to the governor’s desk for a signature.
Secondly, it’s important to note that the bill doesn’t actually use the words “Don’t Say Gay” anywhere in the text. That’s just a nickname that’s been given to it by opponents of the bill.
So, what does the bill actually say? Well, it’s a bit complicated, but here’s a brief rundown:
The bill would require all public schools to teach sex education that emphasizes abstinence until marriage. It would also require that any discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity be limited to “age-appropriate” topics and be “scientifically accurate.”
That might sound reasonable on the surface, but opponents of the bill argue that it’s really just a thinly veiled attempt to silence discussions about LGBTQ+ issues in schools. They point to the fact that the bill doesn’t define what “age-appropriate” means, which could allow schools to avoid discussing LGBTQ+ issues entirely.
Democrats in the Florida legislature have been vocal in their opposition to the bill. State Senator Shevrin Jones, a Democrat from Broward County, called the bill “another attempt to erase the LGBTQ community.” He went on to say, “If we continue to allow policies like this to be introduced, we will erase a generation of LGBTQ youth.”
On the other side of the aisle, Republicans have been more supportive of the bill. State Senator Dennis Baxley, a Republican from Ocala, defended the bill by saying, “We’re not telling anybody what to say. We’re just saying that we’re going to have a defined curriculum that’s going to focus on abstinence.”
So, what’s the bottom line here? Is the “Don’t Say Gay” bill a necessary measure to ensure that schools are teaching age-appropriate, scientifically accurate sex education? Or is it a thinly veiled attempt to erase the LGBTQ+ community from public schools?
As with most political issues, the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle. Supporters of the bill argue that it’s important to emphasize abstinence until marriage in sex education, and that the bill doesn’t actually ban discussions of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Opponents of the bill, on the other hand, argue that it’s just a way to silence discussions about LGBTQ+ issues in schools, and that it could harm LGBTQ+ students by depriving them of information and support.
Ultimately, it’s up to each reader to decide where they stand on this issue. But one thing’s for sure: the “Don’t Say Gay” bill has sparked a heated debate in Florida and beyond, and it’s a topic that’s likely to remain in the news for some time to come.