A new report says that more than half of LGBTQ+ Florida parents surveyed say they’re considering moving out of the Sunshine State because of the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill that has already impacted families since it was enacted last year.
The bill’s title is actually the Parental Rights in Education, but critics have long used ‘Don’t Say Gay’ and it has stuck.
The study of 113 LGBTQ+ parents was issued this week by the Williams Institute, a public policy research institute based at the UCLA School of Law, and Clark University in Massachusetts.
LGBTQ+ parents reported that their children had already experienced harassment and bullying at school and they also had fears about continuing to live in Florida.
In addition, almost one-quarter of parents surveyed feared harassment by neighbors because of their sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.
The survey says that 56 percent of LGBTQ+ parents surveyed said that they are considering leaving Florida over concerns that the legislation may impact their children and family. Another 16 percent said that they have already taken steps to do so.
“I was in the process of buying an office and opening my own practice when the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill passed,” one anonymous respondent is quoted in the report. “I decided to not move forward with the purchase. I have spent $20,000 dollars traveling to look (at) practices to purchase in LGBTQ+ friendly states, speaking to attorneys, applying for other state licenses, etc. We are giving up everything. Our lives and my career is here. We want to stay and fight, but I’m not sure it’s best for my children.”
Another survey participant is quoted as saying,” I am terrified that I would need to make the decision to leave Florida and leave my parents. The idea of having to leave to protect my child and my partner and I is scary but one I am willing to do. It is just another reminder that LGBTQ+ truly are not safe anywhere and we are unable to achieve true happiness. Very sad.”
Supporters of the law have maintained that it doesn’t directly target LGBTQ+ people, referring to the fact that the text never references the word “gay” or “transgender” and that certain conversations are best had at home.
Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the bill into law last May in Pasco County, where he highlighted materials that were inclusive of LGBTQ+ matters, repeatedly saying they were “not appropriate” for young kids. The Phoenix reported that included an enlarged printing of “The Genderbread Man,” an infographic designed to simplify concepts such as gender identity, gender expression, sex assigned at birth, and sexual orientation.
“This is trying to sew doubt in kids about their gender identity,” DeSantis said at the event. “It’s trying to say that, you know, they can be whatever they want to be. This is inappropriate for kindergarteners, for first graders, for second graders.”
The survey also reports that LGBTQ+ parents’ initial reactions to the bill ranged “from fear to anger to disbelief.” It also says that over time, even those who were initially relatively unconcerned (e.g., because they believed the bill would not be signed into law or was unenforceable) became increasingly worried. Some considered moving their children to private schools.
In a section of the report called “Communicating with Children,” Clark University professor of Psychology Abbie E. Goldberg writes:
“Those who did speak to their young children did not necessarily talk about the bill/law but rather emphasized messages centering on ‘being yourself’ and ‘being proud of who you are’ presumably to counteract the negative messaging they might directly or indirectly be exposed to. Said one, ‘Our daughter is young, but we have talked about her family and have many books reminding her that she has two dads. She has a rainbow flag she loves to wave and scream ‘happy pride’.” Said another participant, ‘Too young at 4 to explain bill. We do explain however that families come in many shapes and sizes and that love is what matters.’ A few acknowledged that they had not spoken to their children because they were avoiding it and/or did not want to upset them.”
Two lawsuits were filed in federal court after the law was passed, but both were dismissed by federal judges who questioned the legal standing of the plaintiffs. A revised version of one of those lawsuits was refiled in federal court in Orlando last October.
The governor’s office did not immediately respond for a request for comment.
–Mitch Perry, Florida Phoenix
Simply Appalling says
So sad to have this Racist Dictator, strip the life’s of Gays, Blacks, Women & Educators in this state!
Just think what he would do to the all of above as well as Healthcare, Elderly, all the children’s rights & climate change if this monster were elected president in 2024!
Strip entire USA of all human rights & freedom. So nauseating to think of.
I hope they will decide to stay and work to vote these people who support bigotry out of office and replace them with people who will repeal these dicriminatory laws.
Michael Cocchiola says
The same playbook the spiritual fascist ancestors of today’s extremist Republicans used in 1930s Germany. Frighten them, intimidate them, demonize them and inspire others to assault them. They’ll leave and you have achieved your goal. A racially pure state.
But, if LGBTQ+ and all other progressive citizens leave Florida and other fascist wannabe states for the multi-hued pastures of truly free and welcoming states, we’d fulfill Republican dreams of carving out a purely ruby-red redoubt in the south and west. Then it’ll take Civil War II to save the Union once again.
Would we be up to the challenge or are we just an old and tired-out country, too weak to fight back?
The people in Florida are now experiencing what it is like to have a Governor that is a racist and who discriminates against people of color and or are gay. Remember these things if he decides to run for President.
I Stand With LGBTQ Parents & Kids says
I don’t blame them. DeSatan claims he is for parent’s rights yet he is erasing the existence of LGBTQ parents. Suddenly they see their kids tormented again because of who their parents are, or they are tormented again because of who they are. It’s gross. It really is. Especially in this county that self-proclaims itself to be the best and greatest nation. We condemn how other nations treat women, children and LGBTQ but here, on our soil we show a hypocritical side.
LGBTQ parents should have the same rights as cisgender hetero families. No exceptions. What DeSatan is doing violates so many laws and he will one day lose all the court cases pending and incoming. He’s a bully screaming from his closeted pulpit making LGBTQ people, black people, and drag queens the boogeyman. What is he actually doing for the state of Florida? Rent is out of control. Property tax is out of control. Homeowner’s insurance is out of control. Tourism is down. Students are crossing FL colleges off their lists. There are even rumors of some businesses looking to leave.
He can fight his culture wars. He can be an angry white man with tiny hands and a beer gut. He can have his bad haircut and wear his stripper white boots. He can say he’s doing things in the name of freedom when really he just wants to push the limitations of his burgeoning autocratic power. He is violating laws and common sense and decency by claiming he is an anti-woke warrior. That is code for anti-woman, anti-any-race-other-than-white, anti-non-Americans, anti-LGBTQ…it would be easier to say who he is actually fighting for: cisgender, white, hetero Christofascists.
You know the word “gay” didn’t appear in the Bible until 1949. Prior to that, the translation was child. Wonder why the church had it changed to gay…it isn’t rocket science.
We aren’t LGBTQ parents but we will one day leave this state. I won’t be rounded up by DeSatan because of who I love. We have options and means to leave though, many others don’t. Being LGBTQ… It’s not a choice. I was born this way. Why don’t people ask heteros why did you choose to be straight? You were born that way. It’s simple science really. I knew when I was 8. And guess what? It wasn’t books or movies or relatives (as none came out until we were all older), or other LGBTQ because no one was out then. But I knew I liked girls. How? When all my friends were talking about boys and marrying them, I was thinking that way about the girl I had a crush on. I never talked to anyone about it. I denied I ever was. Nothing made me gay except for my genes and my creator. If we are all created in his/her likeness, aren’t we all created perfect and as intended.
I’ve been asking people just exactly when they decided to go straight for years, and never got an answer. Now, I wonder how they possibly think someone can just change. It’s not logical. I’m straight, and knew from the first grade when I got my first crush on a guy named Guy! Never worried about it. I’m very sorry you, and others, need to go through this, but we all have our anchors around our necks to deal with, and in the end, it will all be okay.
DeSantis is a dangerous ass, in my opinion. No personality, and no conscience, but that’s who he is and we need to vote against such dictator wannabes, who have limited vision.
Deborah Coffey says
This is just heartbreaking. Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day. Ron DeSantis is doing the same thing to our LGBTQ+ Floridians that the Nazis did to the Jews at first…passed laws to prevent them from being “themselves.” Then, the Nazis killed 6,000,000 of them. But, one group isn’t satisfying enough for Ron DeSantis. He’s after Black and Brown people and women, too. When will the lust for power and the hatred of “others” stop? When we SAY SO!
Flagler Live is a joke. You belong in one of the Democratic states, not here.
Thank you for posting your 172nd comment since only 2019. We appreciate the humor.
Trump / DeSantis 2024
My Grand Daughter can’t stand gay people. She says their rude, pushy and WEIRD.
Let’s keep Florida a ” Don’t say Gay ” State.
Pierre Tristam says
She obviously hasn’t been hanging out with heteros.
Paula: That is, without a doubt, the most bigoted thing I’ve read on thos site. At least you have achieved something.