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BREAKING: Governor DeSantis Signs “Don’t Say Gay” Bill Into Law;  Black LGBTQ+ Civil Rights Organization Slams GOP for Pushing Hateful, Russian Inspired Anti-LGBTQ+ Law

CONTACT: Brett Abrams | 

National Black Justice Coalition Warns Preventing Students from Learning the Truth Will Incentivize Students to Lean Into Ignorance and Hate

FLORIDA — Moments ago, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed HB 1557, the Parental Rights in Education bill, known as the “Don’t Say, Gay, Don’t Say Trans” bill, into law. This bill would ban discussion of Queer topics in the classroom–even if the child is only discussing their family. It also allows parents to take legal action against teachers if they discuss sexual orientation or gender identity. 

In reaction to the legislation’s passage, David J. Johns, executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition, a leading Black LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, issued the following statement: 

“Shame on Florida. Our children, all children, deserve better. 

“This legislation is a direct attack on Queer kids, undermining their mental and emotional health and fostering an environment of intolerance and ignorance. And for Black LGBTQ+/SGL kids, who already face barriers to feeling safe and supported at schools, those harms will be amplified tenfold.

“The reality is simple – this action has already hurt children, may likely increase suicide rates among the Queer kids, and negatively impact non-Queer children who would benefit from learning to celebrate diversity and build skills that enable them to thrive in the real world. No one gains from watching elected officials bully vulnerable children and their families. 

“Make no mistake – this effort is not about making children safer in schools or ensuring our students are educated and prepared for the real world. The exact opposite is true. It’s gaslighting. These are the political machinations of a fringe privileged minority: Mainly white, male, cisgender, heterosexual lawmakers with no experience as educators and with no compassion for children who did not ask to be born. They are trying to force a post-truth world upon the whole of Florida, taking power from local school districts and teachers and pretending as though the truth isn’t worth telling, especially when it makes some of us uncomfortable.

“Attempting to prevent students from knowing and feeling comfortable using words, histories, and experiences will not make those words, histories, and experiences disappear. It will only make it easier for students to learn and perform the worst parts of ignorance and hate. 

“This is the kind of legislation we would expect from Putin’s Russia, not from one of the country’s largest and most diverse states.”

“Our students deserve better. Our country deserves better.”

According to the Trevor Project, only 28% of middle and high school LGBTQ+ students reported ever learning about LGBTQ+ people or issues in their classes at school. GLSEN and the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) found that 51.6% of Black LGBTQ+/SGL students felt unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation and 40.2% because of their gender expression. The National Black Justice Coalition warns that this bill will create even more barriers for LGBTQ+/SGL students or students with LGBTQ+/SGL parents to feel safe and supported at school. 

The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) is a civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and same gender loving (LGBTQ/SGL) people, including people living with HIV/AIDS.