International Studies and Public Affairs
Nicole Beauvais, Katrina Manacio, and Luna Rivera Zapata
Following the signing of Florida’s HB 1577, also known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, an influx of discriminatory and exclusionary bills were introduced across the country, reflecting a deeply concerning turn for education standards in the United States. The policy under scrutiny is the Florida bill by Governor Ron DeSantis that began this wave of harmful legislation, which has significant costs for queer and trans youth living in states considering similar regression in their education standards. The central part of the bill being scrutinized is the portion that denies educators the right to discuss gender identity and sexual orientation with third graders and younger while leaving older grades up to the school districts. The outright exclusion of queer topics and basic knowledge of gender identity and sexual orientation bars children in the United States from completely understanding themselves while simultaneously trapping queer children in environments with no access to safe spaces. These changes could perpetuate ongoing heightened rates of depression and suicide in LGBTQ+ youth, especially trans and gender nonconforming youth. Ultimately, positive alternatives must be introduced to support these marginalized communities in states where their safety and educational fulfillment are at severe risk. Three plans that would implement effective strategies positively impacting queer and trans communities include Nevada’s AB 261, Oregon’s LGBTQ2SIA+ Student Success Plan, and GLSEN’s Common Core, each presenting unique alternative paths to exclusionary methodologies within Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill. Through inclusive and intersectional policies that combat the original Florida decision, these states can see positive change with LGBTQ+ representative curricula and proper training for teachers in primary and secondary schools.
"Don’t Say Gay: An Examination of Florida’s Restrictive Education Policies and Potential Alternatives,"
SUURJ: Seattle University Undergraduate Research Journal: Vol. 7, Article 15.
Available at: https://scholarworks.seattleu.edu/suurj/vol7/iss1/15