Florida expands infamous ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law to all school grades

With this new expansion, classroom discussions on LGBTQ+ themes will be banned in all school grades in the state.

This article is about the Don't Say Gay law in school in Florida. In the photo, a teacher speaking to children sitting in class.
Image: Via Pexels - Pavel Danilyuk

On Wednesday, April 19, the Florida Board of Education officially expanded the scope of the infamous ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law to include all school grade levels. Teachers are now banned from discussing LGBTQ+ issues and identities with students through to their final year in high school.

The Florida Board of Education unanimously voted to approve the proposal on Wednesday after it was requested by Republican governor Ron DeSantis. The governor signed the original Parental Rights in Education law, dubbed the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, in March 2022, prohibiting “classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity” for students in kindergarten up to third grade.

The new rules now expand the scope of the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law to include grades four to 12, effectively banning discussion on LGBTQ+ issues and identities with all students in primary and secondary school in Florida. The only case in which these themes can be taught is if state academic standards expressly instruct it or they are “part of a reproductive health course or health lesson for which a student’s parent has the option to have his or her student not attend.”

Teachers who violate the new rules could be suspended and have their licenses revoked. The amendment, which does not require legislative approval, will take effect after a notice period of approximately one month.


Commenting on the expansion of the law, a spokesperson for Governor DeSantis told ABC News that “there is no reason for instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity to be part of K-12 public education. Full stop”. The new rules are part of a broader crackdown on LGBTQ+ rights championed by DeSantis, who is expected to run for president in 2024.

Earlier in February, the politician announced plans to prevent colleges from having programs on diversity, equity, inclusion and critical race theory. Last November, Florida health officials also banned trans minors from accessing gender-affirming healthcare.

Senior Political Director at Equality Florida, Joe Saunders, published a joint statement with Human Rights Campaign, saying that the expansion is “part of the Governor’s assault on freedom”.

“Free states do not ban books,” he continued. “Free states do not censor entire communities out of the classroom. Free states do not wage war on LGBTQ+ people to score cheap political points for a man desperate to be President.”

Saunders concluded, “This policy will escalate the government censorship that is sweeping our state, exacerbate our educator exodus, drive hardworking families from Florida, and further stigmatize and isolate a population of young people who need our support now more than ever. Shame on the DeSantis Administration for putting a target on the backs of LGBTQ+ Floridians.”

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