Teachers fighting against don't say gay bill

This Teacher’s Memo Could Sabotage Florida's Don't Say Gay Bill

Maybe Florida lawmakers forgot that heterosexual is also a sexual orientation? But they voted to only allow non-gendered education in schools, and it looks like that’s exactly what they’re going to get. 

In a memo that is now circulating among Florida’s teachers, one educator has proposed a thoughtful stance that could effectively sabotage the state’s discriminatory new ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law.

Teacher with students

The right-wing group “Moms for Liberty” obtained a copy of a ‘template letter’ meant for teachers in Palm Beach County. The letter went viral after the group posted it to its Twitter account, according to HuffPost.

Since the new so-called ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill was signed into law last week, the letter says the Florida House of Representatives has ruled that “classroom instruction… 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.”

So, in order to be in full accordance with the newly-enacted law, the author of the letter says they will “no longer be referring to your student with gendered pronouns.”

“All students will be referred to as ‘they’ or ‘them,’” the letter said. “I will no longer use a gendered title such as ‘Mr’ or ‘Mrs.’ or make any references to my husband/wife in the classroom. From now on, I will be using the non-gendered title ‘Mx.’”

The Moms for Liberty organization was calling for people to “take a stand” against the letter’s perspective, but many responders pointed out that since Gov. DeSantis signed the bill, ignoring all gender identities and sexual orientation in the classroom appears to now be state law.

“Furthermore, I will be removing all books or instruction which refers to a person being a ‘mother,’ ‘father,’ ‘husband,’ or ‘wife,’ as these are gender identities that also may allude to sexual orientation,” the letter continued. “Needless to say, all books which refer to a character as ‘he’ or ‘she’ will also be removed from the classroom. If you have any concerns about this policy, please feel free to contact your local congressperson.”

The letter was signed “Thank you, Mx.”

The memo has even sparked conversations around whether the state’s now-illicit topic of gender and sexuality means all school bathrooms in Florida must remove signs for ‘boys’ and ‘girls.’

Meanwhile, many teachers say they can no longer teach in Florida, fearing the possible fallout from discussing government-banned topics, including families with same-sex parents. Others say the bill is blatant homophobia that bars them from discussing their own families, by the threat of persecution.

“The law would erase me as an LGBTQ teacher,” one Florida teacher told NBC. “Nobody would be able to know, which then puts me in the closet, and I’m there seven hours a day, if not more, five days a week. I wouldn’t be able to be who I am.”

Posted by Brit Smith

Brit Smith is a Staff Writer & Associate Editor at GWK. A native of London, England, Brit started her American adventure nannying and waiting tables in Texas in 2006, and eventually graduated magna cum laude from the University of California, Berkeley in 2017. Brit has previously written and created podcasts for WBZ NewsRadio, iHeart Media, and Different Leaf.

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