New bills are targeting the LGBTQ+ community

On Feb. 24, the Florida House of Representatives passed HB 1557, or the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which restricts classroom conversations between school staff and students about gender and sexual orientation.

According to, the Florida Senate and Governor Ron DeSantis are expected to pass the bill, which will remove all instruction regarding gender and sexual orientation from kindergarten through third grade and will limit the material that can be covered in higher grades. Teachers are also not permitted to ask what pronouns students identify with, something many WHS teachers do in an attempt to create a safe space for all students.

Republican sponsors proposed the bill to get schools to teach about gender and sexuality at an “appropriate” age. However, the nature of this bill reinforces an environment where anyone who identifies as part of the LG-BTQ+ community or who is non- gender-conforming is an abnormality and classified as an inferior being.

This bill claims that sexuality and sexual orientation are inappropriate topics to be included in the education of young children and should be restricted to prevent influencing other children’s assumed heterosexuality. This is highly hypocritical as we live in a heteronormative environment where being cisgender and straight is an expectation. While Florida believes grade school is too early to teach about gender and sexual orientation, or that children at these ages are too young to be able to know their true identity, they fail to realize every young student is already indoctrinated with gender and sexuality norms; they are just indoctrinated in a more traditional way and not deemed a threat to established values.

Parents dress their newborn girls in pink and boys in blue; girls tend to wear their hair long while boys keep it shorter. It is impossible to completely eradicate gender influences at a young age since they have become such an unconscious element of our culture; this makes the hyper-fixation on the LGBTQ+ community so unjust.

Furthermore, this bill guarantees that parents have access to their childrens’ education and health records and any changes in the student’s pronouns or sexual orientation. It also requires that teachers inform households of any information disclosed in their classroom or changes in their records or identity preferences.

Information can only be withheld from households if schools suspect that this change will endanger the child at home. Otherwise, parents can sue a school district if they are not informed within six weeks of changes in their child’s records.

This bill is attempting to damage the trust between students and their instructors who should be role models and help children discover their true identity and find a safe place to be themselves. If Florida school districts make it illegal to discuss sexuality, even privately with a teacher, students experiencing gender dysphoria or questioning their sexuality can feel invalidated and isolated.

Cutting off this avenue of help can endanger exactly what the bill is claiming to protect: students’ well-being.

Currently, multiple other conservative states are beginning to draft bills that resemble HB 1557. It is imperative that governors and state legislators block the passing of these bills to work to keep school environments safe for all students, not just the ones who are heterosexual and gender-conforming.