For those of you who are not already aware, Florida recently passed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill (HB 1557/SB 1834), a law which restricts teachers from discussing LGBTQ+ topics or people in primary school, and gives parents the right to sue if a teacher breaches this restriction. The House Education & Employment Committee has already passed the bill, and it now lies in the hands of the Judiciary Committee.
Needless to say, this law passing would be a devastating blow to the LGBTQ+ community not just because it would be a rollback of the rights we’ve fought hard to earn, but because it will literally kill young gay and trans children. Statistics show that many queer people start realizing that they are gay in primary school, and that being able to talk about it significantly reduces their risks of depression, anxiety, and suicide. It is crucial that we push back against this law because doing so will literally save young people’s lives. Taking a backseat approach on this will only empower other lawmakers to institute similar laws; it’s important that this gets struck down immediately before it begins hurting children.
Here are some ways that you can get involved even if you don’t live in Florida.
Sign Petitions + Letters
Signing petitions is the easiest way that you can get involved without even leaving the comfort of your home. I’ve linked some legitimate petitions below for you to sign.
- Equality Florida– Sends a letter to your lawmaker
- Blue Future Petition
- Care2 Petition
- Human Rights Campaign Petition
Calling lawmakers is an important way to tell them to vote no and abolish this bill. Odds are, you will not actually talk to the senator, but leaving a message will get noted in the system so that there is evidence of constituents disagreeing with the lawmaker’s decisions.
- Call the committee: (850) 717-4830
- Call your representative. Below is a list of phone numbers of FL Republican reps:
- Rep. Latvala (850) 717-5067
- Rep. McClain – (850) 717-5023
- Rep. Andrade – (850) 717-5002
- Rep. Aloupis – (850) 717-5115
- Rep. Bell – (850) 717-5056
- Rep. Borrero – (850) 717-5105
- Rep. Fine – (850) 717-5053
- Rep. Harding – (850) 717-5022
- Rep. Hawkins – (850) 717-5042
- Rep. LaMarca – (850) 717-5093
- Rep. Maney – (850) 717-5004
- Rep. Mariano – (850) 717-5036
- Rep. Trabulsy – (850) 717-5084
- Rep. Tuck – (850) 717-5055
- The Human Rights Campaign (HCR)– is the HRC the most liberal place in the world? not really, and it’s not particularly known for radical fights, but it is a great place for fighting legal battles.
- Equality Florida– an lgbtq+ organization in FL
- The Trevor Project– The trevor project is a crisis hotline for lgbtq+ youth, and if this bill does pass, it’s going to be important for the hotline to exist and give youth a person to talk to. You can also volunteer to be a trevor councilor!
This bill is aiming to shut down the conversation around the LGBTQ+ community as much as possible. One of the ways that we can all fight this is to be vocal about our support for the community, and especially the youth members of that community. Posting on social media and reading books written by and about lgbtq+ people can make so much difference for a closeted LGBT child. Don’t underestimate the power of just saying out loud that you are an accepting, affirming ally, even if you assume that everyone in your life already knows that.
Feel free to share links to petitions, protests, or advocacy groups below!