For Immediate Release
March 28, 2022
Contact: Michelle Slaybaugh
DeSantis Signs Regressive ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill Into Law
Law will create a dangerous learning environment for youth in Florida
(Washington, D.C.) — Today, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed Florida House Bill 1557, also known as the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill into law. SIECUS: Sex Ed for Social Change condemns the passage of this regressive bill which unnecessarily puts children at risk of preventable harm.
The law, which prohibits discussion on gender identity and sexual orientation in kindergarten through third grade, or “in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students” leaves the door open to extending the ban to higher grade levels. It also plays into a contrived narrative of “parental rights’ by ignoring the systems that schools already have in place to actively engage parents while opening doors to increased litigation by activists interested in using public schools as the new playground for a conservative culture war.
Christine Soyong Harley, President and CEO of SIECUS: Sex Ed for Social Change, released the following statement:
“SIECUS strongly opposes Florida’s dangerous ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill. The law is divisive and discriminatory, and will create lasting damage for students and their families. In school districts across the country, we have already seen the damage that legislation like this can cause. The passing of this cruel and unnecessary bill only further creates division for young Americans.
“This law is not meant to protect students, but is intended to create a hostile school environment that censures teachers’ and students’ ability to speak about age and developmentally appropriate curriculum.
“Let’s get this straight: school classes and programs, including sex education, that are inclusive of LGBTQAI+ identities are valuable. Inclusive curricula create safer and more accepting school environments for all students, leading to better academic outcomes, improved mental and physical health, and teach young people how to be respectful and caring citizens in our increasingly diverse society.
“The ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill does nothing to safeguard our children, but rather isolates and shuns them. All young people should feel safe and affirmed at school, and everyone loses when the state engages in bullying of students, families and teachers.”
SIECUS: Sex Ed for Social Change has served as the national voice for sex education for almost 60 years, asserting that sexuality is a fundamental part of being human, one worthy of dignity and respect. Through policy, advocacy, education, and strategic communications efforts, SIECUS advances sex education as a vehicle for social change—working toward a world where all people can access and enjoy sexual and reproductive freedom as they define it for themselves.