Florida's Republican Governor Ron DeSantis continues to craft a gubernatorial performance designed to flatter a far-right base.
Last year, his signature made voter suppression the law in the Sunshine state—one of dozens to do so under the guise of "election security." He's targeted mask mandates and vaccine passports in the face of a pandemic that's killed more than 800 thousand Americans—including nearly 64 thousand of his own constituents. DeSantis recently proposed the "Stop W.O.K.E. Act" in an effort to feed the flames of conservative hysteria over critical race theory. Even more recently, he's expressed support for a ban on abortions in the state after 15 weeks.
With all those boxes checked, DeSantis will likely come after LGBTQ people next—but not if Chasten Buttigieg, the husband of 2020 presidential candidate and current Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, has anything to say about it.
Recently, Florida's House Education and Employment Committee advanced the so-called Parental Rights in Education Bill. It's known colloquially as the "Don't Say Gay" Bill because it essentially bans discussion of LGBTQ topics in secondary educational settings.
More specifically, the bill says:
"A school district may not encourage classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students."
For decades, conservative hysteria that LGBTQ teachers are working to recruit or otherwise target their children has pervaded society and prevented educators from teaching about relevant historical movements. Though students learn about non-LGBTQ historical figures and their spouses all the time, some say that alerting students to even just the existence of LGBTQ people isn't "age-appropriate," never mind that many of these students are themselves realizing they're members of the LGBTQ community.
Sharing a heartwrenching video of a community member opposing the bill, Chasten Buttigieg warned DeSantis that this language would get kids killed.
He's not wrong.
Citing a report from the Trevor Project, The Hill points out:
"LGBTQ+ youth who learned about LGBTQ+ people or issues in school had 23 percent lower odds of reporting a suicide attempt in the last year than those who did not."
Social media users applauded Buttigieg's opposition.
Other comments demonstrated why keeping people ignorant about LGBTQ history and issues is harmful.
The bill is currently making its way through Florida's Senate as well.