White House’s Jen Psaki schools Fox News reporter on ‘hateful’ Don’t Say Gay law

Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, wears a purple outfit as she speaks to reporters at a briefing

Press secretary Jen Psaki shut down a Fox News reporter’s questions about LGBT+ education ‘before kindergarten’.

Fox News reporter Peter Doocy brought up the controversial legislation, which was signed into law by Florida governor Ron DeSantis last month, during a White House press conference on Monday (4 April).

The statute bans school staff or third parties from discussing LGBT+ topics in kindergarten and third grade classrooms, or at any time deemed not “age appropriate”. 

Doocy questioned what the Biden administration’s position was on when students should be taught about LGBT+ issues and if the White House supported classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity before kindergarten. 

Psaki fired back and demanded that the reporter provide “examples of schools in Florida that are teaching kindergarteners about sex education”

Doocy didn’t cite any examples of such cases in Florida and instead replied that he was “just asking for the president’s opinion about this law”. 

“I think that’s a relevant question because I think this is a politically charged, harsh law that is putting parents and LGBTQ+ kids in a very difficult, heartbreaking circumstance,” Psaki pushed back. 

She said that the Biden administration believes the reviled law is a “reflection” of Florida politicians “propagating misinformed, hateful policies that do absolutely nothing to address the real issues”. 

Psaki added that the US Department of Education is “ready to evaluate what to do next” about Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law, especially if its “implementation violates federal civil rights law”. 

“But I would note that parents across the country are looking to, you know, national, state, and district leaders to support our nation’s students, to ensure that kids are treated equally in schools,” Psaki said. “And that is certainly not — this is not a reflection of that.”

This isn’t the first time that Jen Psaki has spoken out against the controversial legislation. 

In March, she described the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ as “discriminatory”, “horrific” and a “form of bullying”. She added that the legislation would put LGBT+ kids and their families in a “position of not getting the support they need at a time where that’s exactly what they need”. 

She also questioned why Florida lawmakers decided they “need to discriminate against kids who are members of the LGBTQI community”. Psaki asked if it was prompted by “meanness” or “wanting to make kids have more difficult times in school, in their communities”. 

President Joe Biden has also condemned the “hateful” legislation and promised to “fight for the protections” that the LGBT+ community deserves. 

“I have your back, and my administration will continue to fight for the protections and safety you deserve,” he wrote on Twitter. 

In March, Biden administration officials met virtually with Florida students and families over the state’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law as well as other legislative efforts attacking the LGBT+ community. The meeting was attended by US secretary of education Miguel Cardon and assistant health secretary Rachel Levine, ABC News reported. 

Levine said the LGBT+ community has a “champion” in Biden, and the White House will need to support queer kids as well as their loved ones to “help them achieve the good health and quality care they deserve”. 

“The president supports equality and works to ensure everyone is represented,” Levine said. “And that gives people a voice, a chance to effect change, to help people understand the diverse needs of our nation.”