TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, the Florida Senate passed House Bill 1557 (HB 1557), a government censorship bill that bans school districts and teachers from discussing topics related to LGBTQ+ issues, including banning any conversations about sexual orientation or gender identity in K-3 or any grade level in a manner that is not deemed “age-appropriate.”
Kara Gross, legislative director and senior policy counsel of the ACLU of Florida, responded to today's hearing with the following:
“Make no mistake; this anti-LGBTQ+ bill affects all Florida students and teachers.
“With this bill, politicians have essentially silenced teachers and students from speaking and learning about LGBTQ+ siblings, family members, friends, neighbors, and icons. This act of government censorship is ruthless and is designed to erase the existence of all LGBTQ+ stories and people from our Florida schools.
“The government should never be in the business of passing censorship bills. All of our kids should feel loved, accepted, and supported. This bill does the opposite. Banning the free speech of teachers and students is harmful and dangerous. Targeting LGBTQ+ kids and family members is discriminatory and cruel.
“Instead of forcing LGBTQ+ people back into the closet by banning conversations or stopping kids from talking about their parents, the Legislature should pass bills that support kids and families. It is always appropriate to teach kids to be kind, generous, loving, and supportive; this is how we raise respectful and humane adults. If we don’t teach our kids to love and accept one another, they will grow up to be adults who hate and ostracize people who are different from them. This harms all Floridians.
“HB 1557 will directly harm already vulnerable LGBTQ+ youth and put their lives at risk. Florida politicians should be ashamed of its passage. This bill is a disgrace.”