The Florida “Don’t Say Gay” bill or as it is formally know as HB 1557 and it has had a very chilling effect of the schools in Florida. The pogrom against us has grown much since the bill was passed last year, it has spread to healthcare, books, and drag queens.
One Year After “Don’t Say Gay,” Florida Parents Say They’re Enraged and Afraid
Gov. DeSantis’ anti-LGBTQ+ crusade has left parents of queer and trans kids devastated. Many say they’re ready to move, yet many more say they’ll stay and fight back.
By Colleen Hamilton
March 27, 2023In early February, a massive carpool descended on Tallahassee, Florida’s capital. Dozens of middle and high schoolers had missed Geometry and English class for the occasion; parents had taken hard earned days off work to chaperone their children. However, this was no school sanctioned event. It was the final deliberation meeting of the Florida Boards of Medicine and Osteopathic Medicine, which would determine whether the state would move forward with a ban on gender-affirming care for trans and nonbinary youth.
Although the Boards had been discussing a potential ban for months, this was the first and only chance the public would have to voice their concerns about the rule. For the young people who had traveled to Tallahassee that day, the decision would have an immeasurable impact on their lives. School would have to wait.
DeSantis did an end run around the state legislature and having open debate, he chose to do it by a fatwa from the Department of Health.
Unlike other states that have banned gender-affirming care through their state houses, Florida’s ban will enter into effect exclusively through the state’s medical board, without the vote of any elected officials. This means advocates and organizers have not had a fair chance to lobby against it, and their only opportunity to appeal will be through a right-leaning Federal Court system. In fact, the Tampa Bay Times has reported that members of the Board of Medicine who were appointed by Gov. DeSantis have contributed over $80,000 to his campaigns and political action committee.
He “has figured out a way to subvert the democratic process, subvert the legislature, and utilize politically-appointed people who he can put into power at his will,” said Simone Chriss, Director of the Transgender Rights Initiative at Southern Legal Counsel.
But… you always know that there is a but. In this case the law suit against HB1557 was tossed out on a technicality by a federal judge but has been refiled.
Some parents are fleeing the state and other are staying to fight!
Other LGBTQ+ parents say they see staying put as their responsibility. “When your freedoms are literally being taken away, you have to fight,” said Janelle Perez, who lives in Miami with her wife and two children. Her family fled to Florida from Cuba, and the efforts that they’ve made to build a life — a neighborhood full of siblings, devoted grandparents, supportive queer friends — are too immense to leave behind. “I’m not going to let these people push us out,” she said. “We want people to come here and organize and support us.”
This echoes a sentiment shared by many parents and youth organizers. They worry that if supportive adults leave the state, queer and trans children will be left to fend for themselves in an increasingly hostile political environment.
“We’re trying to combat this idea that Florida is a lost cause,” said Fenning. “It’s the third most populous state in the country. There are so many queer people here. We can’t afford to divest from the state in a way that would harm millions of people.”
I don’t hold anything against the parents that are fleeing or staying and fighting. They have to do what they feel is right for their families and no one can judge them for that. It must be a very hard decision to make and they don’t need strangers to second guess them.
Here comes the Judge! They refiled the lawsuit and it is slowly winding its way through the courts.
Simone Chriss, of Southern Legal Counsel, says that she has to constantly remind herself that her work isn’t just about winning legal cases; it’s the fight itself that matters. In her view, this is the far right’s greatest fear: “kids who are comfortable with who they are, who aren’t afraid, who aren’t hiding, and who are going to hold the people in charge accountable.”
Every parent, every LGBTQ+ person in the state should sue. Thousands and thousand of lawsuits against the school systems. Just flood them with lawsuits!
Every LGBTQ+ person in the state should be knocking on the doors of the Democrat party offices and asking “What can I do to help?” There are simple things that need to be done like stuffing envelops to writing letters-to-the-editors (No anti-LGBTQ+ letter-to-the-editor go unchallenged!), to talking to the legislators, to knocking on doors.
Turn Florida Blue!
Remember as Smokey the Bear says... only you can turn the state Blue, Vote!
It is difficult for parents of trans kids to stay though, if they have an opportunity to move, as the forced detransition can have devestating effects on these kids. Then there's the looming possibility that the state will kidnap the child and put them into "conversion" therapy torture as well.ReplyDelete
The fight needs to happen, but I can definitely understand why trans people are fleeing.
In my younger days I would yell, stay and fight. But I like you Joanne do understand why folks must leave. Perhaps they are the smart ones. Leave before it really gets messy, its messy enough as it is. We can look to history to understand this. My only problem with this is the ones who are not able to move due to economics, they will be left behind with very few to stand with them. Perhaps it is our job to raise funds for folks who need to leave. There is a lot of money in the LGBT community that should be given for this purpose. Let the liberal churches put their money where their immigration work is and bring families to Ct. I would love to turn on the news and here about a family who had to flee Florida because of the threats against their children and family. The churches should realize its more than hanging out a flag. Plain and simple it is war against our comrades, allies and members of the Trans community.Delete