Orlando LGBTQ+ activists rallying against ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill

Local activists will host a rally later this month to protest the passing of a new Florida bill that they believe will stifle discussions of LGBTQ+ topics in classrooms.

On Saturday, February 26 the Zebra Coalition and Equality Florida will host a rally for LGBTQ+ rights at Orlando City Hall (400 S Orange Avenue).

The group seeks to protest new legislation that is making its way through Florida’s government that it says is “anti-diversity.”

The Parental Rights in Education bill, which opponents have labeled as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, is currently making its way through the Florida Senate after it was adopted by the Florida House of Representatives earlier this year.

The bill, which was sponsored by Joe Harding of District 22, requires local school boards to adopt procedures to “reinforce the fundamental right of parents to make decisions regarding upbringing and control of their children.”

According to the bill, school staff “may not discourage or prohibit parental notification of and involvement in critical decisions affecting a student’s mental, emotional, or physical health or well-being.”

LGBTQ+ activists who oppose the bill say that its sponsors, including Florida State Senator Dennis Baxley who represents the 12th district, seek to bar discussions between teachers and students regarding their sexual orientation.

The bill does specify that it does not “prohibit a school district from adopting procedures that permit school personnel to withhold” sensitive information from a parent “if a reasonably prudent person would believe that disclosure would result in abuse, abandonment, or neglect” as defined by Florida Statute 39.01.

That statute defines “abuse” as “any willful act or threatened act that results in any physical, mental, or sexual abuse, injury, or harm that causes or is likely to cause the child’s physical, mental, or emotional health to be significantly impaired.”

To read more about this bill and its path through the Florida House of Representatives and Senate, visit the Parental Rights in Education bill page through the Florida House website.

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