"Don’t Say Gay" has sparked a dark resurrection of LGBTQ+ hate bills

Now, 19 other states are considering similarly oppressive legislature.

Members and supporters of the LGBTQ community attend the "Say Gay Anyway" rally in Miami Beach, Flor...
Queer Rights
ByClarissa Brooks

Florida, with Gov. DeSantis at the helm, passed its Parental Rights in Education Bill on March 28th. Coined “Don’t Say Gay,” the legislation has recently inspired a wave of born-again anti-LGBTQ bills that are sweeping the country. Similarly homophic bills have been proposed in 19 states, to be exact, as of right now, using identical language and tone to the one passed in Florida. We’re out here trying to get masks back in schools, not even realizing homophobia is just as contagious as COVID.

Many organizations, celebrities, and even employees of corporations with tax dollars connected to the OG Don’t Say Gay bill have all taken to condemning it since its introduction in the Florida legislature in early March. Sadly, the new wave of legislation looking to erase, eradicate and harm the lives of queer and trans people is painfully familiar to advocates who have been working on these issues for decades.

The copycat bills — surfacing in Tennessee, Alabama, and Indiana, for example — do vary. But what they have in common is that “they restrict the ability of teachers and administrators to provide students with an honest and accurate education that they deserve, that helps them to learn from our past and reflect the diversity of the world around them and prepare them for the future,” said Logan Casey, a senior policy researcher and adviser at MAP, to NBC.

For example, last week, Gov. Ivey of Alabama introduced two bills targeting trans youth. The first bill criminalizes healthcare providers that offer gender-affirming care to transgender youth and a secondary bill that requires students to use bathrooms that aligns with the gender they were assigned at birth. Ivey, a Republican, said she “believed very strongly that if the Good Lord made you a boy, you are a boy, and if he made you a girl, you are a girl.” Glad to know the governor of Alabama doesn’t know the basic difference between gender vs. sex.

The sound-minded people of Alabama aren’t having it, of course. “Transgender youth are a part of Alabama, and they deserve the same privacy, access to treatment, and data-driven health care from trained medical professionals as any other Alabamian,” says Tish Gotell Faulks, legal director, ACLU of Alabama.

In Oklahoma, body-regulating legislature got signed on April 5th, in the form of a bill that makes abortion a felony. Bills with similar language are popping up across the south and midwest. The attack on LGBTQ+ people and anyone seeking access to safe abortions is a reflection of the right-wing push two years after the political uprising in connection to policing and safety. Many hoped that the violence of the Florida education bill would stay in Florida (and eventually, be eradicated), but the wave of oppressive violence doesn’t want to seem to die out.