In 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower solidified the decades of discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals with Executive Order 10450 which identified homosexuality, described as “sexual perversion”, for being a rational reason to fire or reject the application of federal government workers. This discriminatory ban targeting LGBTQ+ workers wasn’t fully lifted until Executive Order 13764 under the Presidency of Barack Obama in 2017.
Now, only years later, House Bill 1557 signed by Governor DeSantis, otherwise referred to as the Don’t Say Gay Bill, prohibits discussions of sexuality, gender, and otherwise LBGTQ+ centered issues in classrooms from kindergarten through third grade. Some LGBTQ+ teachers have quit the profession altogether. DeSantis and legislators have since planned to increase the limitations of the bill and introduced six more bills that seek to further restrict education last month.
The proposed bills would only harm students, affecting more than 16,000 minors in Florida who identify as transgender, and thousands of nonbinary people who may use different pronouns, but might not identify as trans. Senate Bill 1320 would expand the ban on discussions about gender and sexuality until ninth grade instead of grade three and prohibit the use of preferred pronouns for both students and educators.
It really is further and further isolating LGBTQ students, it’s making it hard for them to receive the full support that schools should be giving every child.
— Sarah Warbelow, Legal Director for LGBTQ advocacy group Human Rights Campaign
Through these legislations DeSantis disables educators’ abilities to teach students how to be cognizant of human rights and aware of the social injustices surrounding race & sexuality. If passed, the legislation would go into effect on July 1, 2023, and LGBTQ+ students in Florida would lose all sense of acceptance & security in the classroom. So how is DeSantis silencing LGBTQ+ individuals in the classroom any different from Eisenhower muzzling the federal government workers in the 1900s?
Judge Walker emphasized that Florida was sanctioning viewpoint discrimination by prohibiting professors’ ability to express views that the state endorsed while permitting them from expressing views that the state legislature disfavored. This observation remains relevant in DeSantis’s passed legislations that repetitively contradict Executive Orders made by the president and higher governing bodies.
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