Chasten Buttigieg slams Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill
Chasten Buttigieg, husband of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is speaking out.
Chasten, a former teacher, has slammed a Florida bill that asks to prohibit any discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in “primary grade levels.”
Supporters of the Parental Rights in Education bill, which has been submitted to the Florida House’s Judiciary Committee, say the legislation is designed to protect parents’ control over how their children are raised and with what language. But LGBTQ activists and opponents of the bill say it would prevent teachers from talking about LGBTQ issues, and muzzle children from using language they may identify with.
Last week, Chasten tweeted at the Governor of Florida that the bill would “kill kids”.
“You are purposefully making your state a harder place for LGBTQ kids to survive in,” Chasten wrote, quoting a national survey from The Trevor Project, who advocates for LGBTQ youth suicide prevention.
“In Florida, what kind of state are you building, where you’re essentially pushing kids back into the closet?” Chasten said in an interview with CNN. “You’re saying, ‘We can’t talk about you. We can’t even talk about your families.'”
The wording of the bill proposes that school districts are forbidden to encourage “classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels.”
Parents who believe a school district has violated that rule will be empowered to sue for damages, legal fees and court costs.
State Rep. Joe Harding, the Republican who introduced the bill, said during a committee hearing that the measure wouldn’t prohibit discussions about LGBTQ history, including events such as the 2016 attack on the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. However, the bill would ban schools from introducing “specific curriculum or coursework that puts” a student “in a situation where they have to have” a discussion about LGBTQ topic.
This Florida bill mirrors laws in some states that prohibit positive and affirming representations of LGBTQ people in school: Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Mississippi still have these laws on the books, according to GLSEN.