Dangerous amendments to Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill is the latest trend among the ‘censorship and surveillance’ legislation that’s been passing through the Florida government this session. Nadine Smith of Equality Florida and Florida State Representative Anna Eskamani joined MidPoint host Shelley Reback to discuss what this legislation means for the state.
Listen to the full episode here:
An amendment to HB 1557, or the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, was proposed by Joe Harding, the representative who started the bill. It required that school personnel “develop a plan, using all available governmental resources, to disclose such information within (six) weeks after the decision to withhold such information from the parent”. Effectively, the amendment would require school staff to out LGBTQ+ children to parents, even after the student expresses the wish to withhold that information for fear that abuse, abandonment or neglect would result. After facing significant Statewide and National backlash, Rep. Harding withdrew the amendment.
Smith says that the slew of legislation is meant to “secure the loyalty” of the Republican base, especially as Governor Ron DeSantis looks for a presidential bid in the 2024 election. However, these efforts to gain that support are coming at the expense of already marginalized groups.
Parents, teachers and students have already coalesced to speak out against the legislation, although corporations and businesses that pride themselves on inclusivity have been relatively silent.
“Are you going to stand on these values you’re espousing or are you going to cower?” Smith said.
Rep. Anna Eskamani spoke on the House floor Tuesday, questioning and opposing the new legislation. Her recommendation to WMNF listeners was to not only stay politically active and vote, but to also help others stay politically active.
“I really encourage folks to not just see it as your own personal civic duty, but we need you to help build collective efficacy with us,” she told WMNF.Nadine Smith ended by urging folks to work against these oppressive bills and “keep hope alive.”
For more information on Equality Florida’s actions against this legislation, visit freetosaygay.org/