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  • Writer's pictureChristian Gersbacher

Scott Galvin about Floridas 'Don't say gay' bill: The battle has just begun

I talk to Scott Galvin from Safe Schools South Florida about the 'Don't say gay' bill and the current situation for LGBTQ* people in U.S. Scott Galvin is executive director of the LGBTQ* organization Safe Schools South Florida and a North-Miami councilman.

Florida passed the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill

Florida's Senate has passed the controversial 'Don't say gay' bill to ban discussions of sexual orientation or gender identity in primary schools with a vote of 22-17. It prohibits any instruction about sexual orientation or gender identity between kindergarten and third grade. The bill also extends to student support services, including counselling, and grants parents the power to sue schools directly if they believe an educator has broken the law.

More States are considering laws modeled on Florida’s Don’t Say Gay bill

The proposals range from prohibiting instruction about gender identity in the classroom to restricting access to gender-affirming health care and excluding transgender youth from school athletics. In addition, several more bills are expected to pass through their second chamber next week. According to the Human Rights Campaign, 2021 was the worst year in recent history for LGBTQ* equality rights. A total of 268 anti-equality bills were filed, 27 of which were signed into law, including 13 that specifically targeted the rights of transgender youth.

In a Twitter message to the LGBTQ* community - US president Biden vowed to "continue to fight for the protections and safety you deserve."

The LGBTQ* organization Human Right Camping has called the 'Don't say gay' bill an "attempt to make queer people invisible in society"Floridas openly gay congressman Carlos Guillermo Smith said the law creates an "environment of fear and censorship."

More than 150 anti-LGBTQ bills introduced so fare this year

Source: ACLU Graphic: Priya Krishnakumar, CNN

The current situation shows that political battles for LGBTQ* rights are more important than ever.

Disney's Rainbow washing

Disney is one of Florida's largest employers. Each year Disney profits heavily off the LGBTQ* community, selling entire collections of pride merchandise and hosting "gay days" at its parks. Last week the Orlando sentinel reported that Disney has donated to every single sponsor and co-sponsor of the "Don't say gay bill". As a result, many people protested outside Disney World in Orlando this week.

Interview with Scott Galvin form the LGBTQ* orgainsation Safe Schools South Florida

Scott Galvin is executive director of the LGBTQ* organization Safe Schools South Florida and a North-Miami councilman.

Safe Schools has been vehemently opposed to the bill. In the weeks prior to its approval, we held several community rallies, organized a virtual "We are people" protest in schools, and flew airplanes with banners over local schools and communities.

Airplanes with banners over local schools in Florida

More and more states are obviously going to start working on anti-LGBTQ* legislation. Just yesterday, Georgia proposed its own 'Don't say gay' bill. Four US states - Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas - currently have laws on the books that explicitly prohibit or limit sex education to heterosexual activity. With the success of conservatives in Florida, the sentiment will spread across America, said Scout.

Everyone in the LGBTQ* community wants to simply live their lives, just like other group of people. We want to simply work, raise our families, and enjoy life.

Bills like this are totally unnecessary. They hurt our community and our children in so many ways.

What are you doing form Safe School Florida agist the 'Don't say gay' bill?

We're planning a series of workshops with our teachers talking to them about what their rights are. And we've talked with legal organizations about potential court challenges: The battle has just begun.

Last week, students across Florida staged school walkouts in protest against the bill:

About Safe Schools South Florida

Safe Schools South Florida mission is to create safer schools for all students can learn and thrive, regardless of real or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, their own or that of their parents/guardian.

More information about Safe School South Florida:



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