Members and supporters of the LGBTQ+ community attend the “Say Gay Anyway” rally in Miami Beach, Florida on 13 March, 2022. (AFP via Getty/ CHANDAN KHANNA)
A Florida school board is set to vote on whether to censor LGBTQ+ history after ‘Don’t Say Gay’.
This month marks the start of the first academic year after Florida’s reviled Parental Rights in Education bill, known to critics as the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, was passed.
‘Don’t Say Gay’ bans educators in Florida from teaching about sexual orientation or gender identity from kindergarten through third grade, or through the 12th grade if topics are not deemed “age-appropriate” by parents and guardians.
According to them, on 7 September the Miami-Dade County Public Schools board is set to vote on whether the legislation means that LGBTQ+ History Month should be ignored altogether.
The resolution, put forward by board member Lucia Baez-Geller, argues that schools should not be able to erase history, even post ‘Don’t Say Gay’.
It calls for the school board to “recognise and observe October 2022” LGBTQ+ History Month, and “incorporate landmark Supreme Court cases Obergefell v Hodges (2015) and Bostock v Clayton County (2020) in 12th grade social studies”.
Obergefell v Hodges is the Supreme Court case that legalised Same-sex marriage across the US, and Bostock v Clayton County enshrined discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people in employment.
The resolution adds: “These Supreme Court cases guarantee fundamental constitutional rights, and it is imperative that students have access to a comprehensive view of landmark civil rights cases and suffrage movements in the United States… The district appreciates and recognises the importance of LGBTQ History Month as an effective means of educating and calling to action our community to work together by fighting prejudice and discrimination in their own lives and increasing visibility and raising awareness.”
While it might seem shocking that school boards are having to vote on whether to literally teach history to students, the vote is just one of many horrifying realities in the wake of ‘Don’t Say Gay’.
This month, Sarasota County teachers in west-central Florida were issued new guidance based on ‘Don’t Say Gay’ which requires them to out their students to their guardians if they come out as LGBTQ+.
In June, educators in Orange County, Florida, reported that they had been told by administrators to remove pictures of their families from classrooms if they have a partner of the same gender, and had been barred from talking about their partner with students.