~ 8 minutes read
The Florida Senate passed the Parental Rights in Education Bill, referred to by some as the “Don’t Say Gay” Bill, on March 8th. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has voiced support for the bill and is expected to sign it “relatively soon.”
The bottom line: Views and coverage of the bill vary because we have different beliefs around what constitutes appropriate classroom conversation for young students. We continue to talk about this bill differently because of distinct coverage by different news sources that confirm our point of view, whichever it is.
Below, we break down how different people are interpreting this bill, and what values or information inform this perspective. Our goal isn’t to change your mind — it’s to show how rational people can understand this same event so differently. Your view may differ, and that’s okay.
One reason we see this bill differently is that each side is discussing the content of the bill in different ways. Consider how your view of the bill might (or might not) change if you only heard one side’s description of the bill.
To the opposition, this bill…
To supporters, this bill…
Because of the inherent complexity of legal language, we rely on our previous experiences and values as well as coverage by news sources we trust to understand what this bill is about. This combination leads us to interpret the intentions and impact of this bill differently.
Here are a few examples of beliefs guiding the thinking on either side of the issue:
Those who oppose the bill…
Believe LGBTQ+ rights are under attack across the country. Because of this, LGBTQ+ youth are at higher risk of mental illness and need to be protected and supported.
Talking about the LGBTQ+ community is appropriate for any age, and restricting conversations about it signals to kids that being LGBTQ+ is wrong. Conflating ideas about sexual orientation and gender identity with explicit conversations about sex relies on the bigoted idea that members of the LGBTQ+ community are more likely to be sex offenders or pedophiles.
Those who support the bill…
Believe progressive ideas are dominating public education. Instead, parents should be the ones in charge of their children’s education — especially when it comes to determining what topics their children are ready for.
Believe sex is a mature topic, and that sex is ingrained throughout conversations about sexual orientation and gender identity. Kids need to be protected from age-inappropriate conversations so they can develop properly and enjoy childhood.
To those who oppose the bill, supporters of the bill are equating conversations about LGBTQ+ topics with explicit, sexual content based on the backwards idea that queerness is morally wrong and LGBTQ+ individuals are more likely to be sexual predators. Such views are misguided and damage the self-image of LGBTQ+ youth and should not be amplified through government policy.
To those who support the bill, opponents of the bill exaggerate the potential harms to LGBTQ+ students, and deliberately conflate good faith efforts to protect young children from overtly sexual concepts with censoring conversations about LGBTQ+ topics. This allows for harmful content, that has no place in public schools, to be taught to young, impressionable children.
Because our values and beliefs impact how we perceive new stories relating to LGBTQ+ and sex education, we reach different conclusions about what the right course of action is. Although it can be hard to understand how someone can reach such a different conclusion, it’s important to remember that our contra partisans don’t form their opinions on a whim. Just as we do, they use an internally consistent process, informed by the values and beliefs they hold dear, to reach their conclusion.
When it comes to emotional topics, it’s especially helpful to listen to how the other side describes themselves and their motivations, because their view often differs from the image of the enemy we’ve built up in our heads. Listening to them doesn’t mean conceding the argument, but it does mean taking them seriously and listening to their concerns in good faith.
The full text of the bill can be downloaded here.
This bill would ban discussions of sexuality and gender identity in schools. Effectively silencing discussions about LGBTQ+ topics in public schools in the state. 1/2 https://t.co/qmbKM9xWBx— Nashoba (@MuseKat) January 22, 2022
"Don't Say Gay" will for sure work as teens historically love being told what to do and respect authority— Maggie Mae Fish 🐟 (@MaggieMaeFish) February 22, 2022
idk if any of yall are reading the article but it also states that they are passing the "stop woke" act which will censor "honest dialogue about systemic racism, gender, and race discrimination"— egg's alt (@kertoirTWO) February 24, 2022
this is unbelievable.
dont let this slip under the radar.
BREAKING: The sponsor of the "Don't Say Gay" bill in the Florida House, @josephbharding, just introduced an amendment that would REQUIRE SCHOOLS TO OUT LGBTQ STUDENTS even if the school believes THE DISCLOSURE WILL RESULT IN "ABUSE, ABANDONMENT, OR NEGLECT"— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) February 20, 2022
(Via @CarlosGSmith) pic.twitter.com/pdxA3KBcEy
Florida's "Don't Say Gay" bill is the latest example of the performative cruelty that defines the GOP brand today. It will only serve to hurt children and families.— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) March 9, 2022
People who believe in freedom and equality should oppose these ugly measures at every opportunity.
This girl wasn't quite 16 when she was expelled from her all girls high school for being a lesbian. She was remanded to a psychiatric hospital for conversion therapy. It was so traumatic, she attempted suicide.— Victoria Brownworth (@VABVOX) March 10, 2022
The girl was me. The Don't Say Gay law could kill kids. Stop it. pic.twitter.com/pCSNIjbwSm
In which FL republicans admit they filed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill because more kids are comfortable coming out these days and that makes them feel icky. https://t.co/XhqJCrvvN2— Chasten Buttigieg (@Chasten) March 8, 2022
There's no such thing as a Florida "Don't Say Gay" bill.— Catturd ™ (@catturd2) March 13, 2022
BREAKING: The Florida legislature has passed the Parental Rights in Education Bill that bans teaching sexual orientation and gender identity to pre-K through 3rd graders and prevents schools from withholding info about a child's mental health to parents.— Election Wizard 🇺🇸 (@ElectionWiz) March 8, 2022
Sex Offenders, Pedophiles, And Democrats Hardest Hit By Florida’s New Parental Rights Bill https://t.co/4pKFWS6qUb— The Babylon Bee (@TheBabylonBee) March 10, 2022