IT’S OKAY TO SAY GAY: Floridian Bill HB1557 Limits Queer Discussions and LGBTQ+ Youth’s Safety


Protests, often under the title “We Say Gay” have been happening across the world to support LGBT+ students in Florida, some of which are against the Disney corporation.There are many rallies to get Disney to stand up for their LGBT workers. Source l Orlando weekly

The “Don’t Say Gay” bill is currently in the process of becoming a law in Florida. The bill would limit the discussion of LGBTQIA+ issues in the classroom, along with gender orientation issues. The real question is not what the bill is, but how the bill will bring harm to LGBTQIA+ youth. 

There are many different opinions on the bill as a whole. One of the subjects of most debate is that -if passed- the bill would require schools to notify parents if their child discusses their sexuality or gender orientation. If the parents were not notified, the school and teacher would be subject to lawsuits. 

We’ve seen instances of students being told by different folks in school, ‘Oh, don’t worry, don’t pick your gender yet, do all this other stuff.’ They won’t tell the parents about these discussions that are happening. That is entirely inappropriate,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. 

  Although the Floridian governor believes it to be inappropriate, many young queer individuals wish for their sexuality and gender identity to be private, for a sense of normality, and in some cases, for their own safety. Homophobia runs deep, so deep that governors of entire states are willing to put children’s wellbeing at stake in their own homes. 

I definitely think a lot of people don’t have a safe space at home to talk about [LGBT issues], so when you bring that into school, it also limits that. I think that it will cause a lot of psychological problems like feeling you don’t belong,” said Teya Riggins, 11. 

Large corporations in Florida and outside the state have also expressed their opinions on this bill, the most notable being Disney. Disney expressed support for the bill which caused large scale walkouts from their cast members. Starting March 22, the workers will transition from 15 minute walkouts to a large-scale full day walkout.  It is astounding that a corporation that has a LGBT employee resource center wouldn’t do anything to actually protect them, but that is the direction we are heading in. 

The organization helping with the Disney walkouts (they decided to remain nameless) had a lot to say about the company. The organization stated they “must take action to convince [The Walt Disney Company] to protect employees and their families in the face of such open and unapologetic bigotry,” according to

Lawmakers tend to sugarcoat the awful bills they propose- they attempt to make their bigoted takes more digestible. The bill specifically states that its purpose is to “prohibit classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in certain grade levels.” What this really means is that the bill forces teachers to ban any discussions on sexual orientation or gender identity. Teachers will now face serious consequences for letting students discuss their own identities, as well as legal reprecussions if teachers themselves fail to out their own students to potentially homophobic parents. 

“As a teacher, I think this is wildly inappropriate for teachers to essentially be ratting out their students. That should be private information; it’s not the business of teachers, other students, or even parents if that student doesn’t want it to be,” said Michael Allred, history teacher. 

Although “Don’t Say Gay” seems like something out of the 1800s, looking at recently proposed bills and newly signed laws throughout the country makes “Don’t Say Gay” seem more plausible. Older generations are feeling targeted, and the almost laughable attempt at hiding different sexual orientations and gender identities from students just proves it. This ridiculous ban along with the ban of trans girls in female sports in the whole state of Iowa, and the constant banning of books with queer representation across the country, has proven a constant regressive pattern in our country’s lawmaking. 

“LGBT+ students are already far more likely to experience violence, bullying, depression, and suicide. Further stigmatizing them, like this bill is trying to do, will only make this worse for them. It also sets a very dangerous precedent for requiring teachers to essentially spy on the personal lives of students and to censor important pieces of history or literature,” said Allred.