On Wednesday, in what feels like a never-ending attack on LGBTQ+ Floridians, the Florida State Senate expanded the “Don’t Say Gay” law and passed an anti-trans bathroom bill.
“Imagine living in a state where you are the target of the political culture war,” gay Sen. Shevrin Jones said on the Senate floor.
“Imagine never touching a child inappropriately, but you are the victim of sexual abuse, but yet still, you are the one that’s called a groomer. Imagine that. Imagine individuals who have been victims of sexual abuse, but yet still, it’s being turned back on you because of the tone which we have created in this in this state.”
The expansion of “Don’t Say Gay” extends a ban on curriculum about sexual orientation or gender identity through eighth grade and is now heading to notoriously homophobic Gov. Ron DeSantis’s desk. DeSantis will most likely sign the bill into law. Florida’s Board of Education already extended the ban through 12th grade.
The expansion also allows individuals to object to books in school libraries and will protect teachers who refuse to use proper pronouns for students and coworkers.
Republican Sen. Clay Yarborough said the bill will prevent porn from being present in school libraries.
“We can maintain an appropriate learning environment for all students and teachers,” Yarborough said. “Teachers should be able to spend their time focusing on skills that help a child succeed in life, not delving into every social issue.”
As for the bathroom bill, the Senate also passed a bill requiring separate men’s and women’s restrooms. A unisex bathroom is optional. The bill also requires Floridians only use bathrooms aligned with the gender they were assigned at birth.
“Clearly, the bill is designed to just hurt trans people and not to protect anyone,” Sen. Tina Polsky said, “because there’s nothing inherently dangerous about a trans person using a bathroom.”
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