Florida’s Fictional ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill Doesn’t Go Nearly Far Enough 

The problem with Florida’s much derided “Don’t Say Gay” bill is not just that the moniker is a complete lie. It’s that the bill so lambasted by Democrats and the national press doesn’t go anywhere near far enough to protect children from predatory poison in the schools.

This bill could be described far more accurately as: Florida will henceforth allow classroom teaching on sexual orientation and gender identity beginning in the fourth grade. We’re talking 9-year-olds! But restricting such talk to children ages 9 and above is still far too restrictive for leftists bent on destroying children’s lives for their own depraved agenda, and who have had a free run of public schools for years. 

But that’s just how big the lie is. And most people will never know it.

Normal people don’t see any place for a public airing of this private issue between parents and their offspring anywhere in public schools. But politically, Republicans might have at least tried to keep the law’s strictures only to high school kids, since they were bound to get viciously attacked, anyway. Why not stake out the argument where winning it might have done some good? As it is, the bill just protects kids in the third grade and below. And after this drubbing, few elected officials will have the stomach for upping the age to where it should be.

How we got here screams “wake up call” on multiple fronts.

The genesis of this particular controversy was last year’s parental rights bill, which the Florida state legislature passed to provide for greater parental rights. Some school district officials simply hate that concept at its core, and they were bypassing the bill by including parents in some of their children’s education issues, but not in others—specifically, and not surprisingly, sexual orientation and gender. Parents cannot be trusted, or so the thinking goes. Only professionally trained, government-certified teachers can be trusted. For instance, one district made it optional for school officials to inform parents on teaching that included “gender identification,” “gender change,” and “assigned sex at birth.” 

To ordinary people, this seems like a clear statutory violation. But as there was no investigation or charges of any sort, the legislature’s response was H.B. 1557, a fairly short bill to make it crystal clear what every parent had a right to know about their children’s education. And because the “sexual orientation” and “gender identification” categories were being singled out for exclusion by school districts, they were singled out in the legislation. Pretty reasonable.

The story so far would suggest that Florida’s elected officials, having been made aware that some school districts were actively working to flout the language and intent of the earlier law, sought to provide a remedy. 

But a Florida Democrat cleverly labeled the Parental Rights in Education bill the “Don’t Say Gay” bill and the media latched on, writing so many stories with that appellation that most people now believe H.B. 1557 is essentially a censorship bill, not legislation designed to protect young children from age-inappropriate curriculum. Some clownish Democrat legislators in Tallahassee linked arms this week and danced down the hallway singing “Gay, gay, gay!” My guess is they were hoping for a TikTok moment, because that’s what passes for statesmanship in the decimated Florida Democratic Party.

The irony is that the bill not only does not talk about not talking about gay, the word doesn’t actually appear in the legislation. Not once. That’s how complete the Democrats’ disinformation campaign is. Putin would be furiously jealous. At least in the whole Russian collusion hoax aimed at President Trump, there is actually a country called Russia. We don’t even have that much reality here.

“By creating a name for the bill that is not real—the word ‘parent’ or ‘parental’ is in the bill 37 times, and nowhere does it say ‘gay’—they’ve figured out how to capture the nation’s attention with a fake narrative,” said bill sponsor Joe Harding, a Republican from Ocala. “Fake narrative” is a charitable way of putting it.

The oh-so deeply offensive part of H.B. 1557 that drew such mockery says this:

Classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.

That’s it. That’s what the hysteria is about, except I’m guessing most of the media cheerleaders and “Saturday Night Live” writers don’t know and don’t want to know. They have their narrative and that’s all they need. And those who want to lead children into deviant lifestyles at a young age know the media has their back.

The media (and increasingly public schools) will never regain credibility with vast swaths of Americans. And that will forever be the primary cause of Americans now piled into two different information universes so vastly different that we can’t even have conversations because each is drawing from an entirely different set of “realities.” 

About Rod Thomson

Rod Thomson is an author, former journalist, past Salem radio host and ABC TV commentator and founder of The Thomson Group. Twice banned on TikTok. Follow him on Instagram. Like Rod on Facebook.

Photo: CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images

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