Florida lawmakers creating bills that would affect LGBTQ+ students

Some lawmakers are trying to limit conversation about gender and sexual orientation in schools with a bill that will be voted upon later this spring. The bill’s sponsors, including Sen. Dennis Baxley, present it as a mechanism to preserve parents’ rights in education, but critics say it would ultimately police what students and teachers can discuss in classrooms regarding gender and sexuality.

It was one of five of bills filed during the first week of Florida’s 2022 legislative session that would affect LGBTQ+ students in school, and those seeking medical care.

The bills represent an increase in such legislation. Last year, lawmakers passed the transgender athlete ban, which the bill’s sponsors called the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act,” banning transfeminine athletes from competing on girl’s and women’s school sports teams. But prior to that, there was very little legal activity from Tallahassee that sought to legislate gender and sexual orientation.

“This is an agenda that has nothing to do with the life of Floridians,” said Nadine Smith, executive director of Equality Florida, a LGBTQ+ nonprofit group. “These bills would have a chilling effect, banning discussions of the existence of LGBTQ+ people, making students more vulnerable, more isolated, invading the most personal conversations between doctors, parents, and young people.”

The bills are aimed at “dividing, scapegoating, and dehumanizing,” and would ban honest conversations about race and gender identity, Smith said, pointing out that LGBTQ students often don’t live in safe or supportive home environments, making teachers or doctors the only safe adults they have access to.

via Yahoo News