Programs in the States

SIECUS Condemns Florida Rule Restricting K-3 Teachers From Discussing Gender Identity and Sexuality

SIECUS Condemns Florida Rule Restricting K-3 Teachers From Discussing Gender Identity and Sexuality
New rule would strip teachers of their teaching licenses.

October 17, 2022

WASHINGTON, DC – Last Tuesday, the Progress Report reported a new rule in Florida that would revoke or suspend the teaching licenses of elementary school educators who teach students about gender identity or sexuality. The rule was initially proposed in August of this year, and was quietly approved in September during Hurricane Ian, which left more than 100 dead in the state. The rule enforces the “Don’t Say Gay” law, leaving educators with very little guidance on what would be considered a fireable offense.

Christine Soyong Harley, President and CEO of SIECUS released the following statement: 

“This new rule enforces the hateful ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law that was signed into law by Florida Governor DeSantis earlier this year. Advocates for sex education and LGBTQAI+ communities have been warning for months that this legislation will have devastating repercussions for students and educators. 

“This is an egregious attack on teachers and Floridian families. There are instructors who are a part of the LGBTQAI+ community who do not know if they will have their license revoked for mentioning their partner. Students in the classroom may be fearful of acknowledging parents and family members who are LGBTQAI+. All children benefit from safe and affirming learning environments. Instead, the nature of this rule is malicious and harmful; it is important that we continue to fight against the censorship of real lives in schools.”

Attacks on the education system have become increasingly common in both conservative and progressive state and local governments across the country. As of 2022, only nine states have policies that include affirming sexual orientation instruction on LGBTQAI+ identities or discussion of sexual health for LGBTQAI+ youth. Six states have laws that explicitly require instruction that discriminates against LGBTQAI+ people. 

SIECUS is committed to fight for equality and equity in sex education across the nation in K-12th grades.

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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.