Republicans introduce ‘cruel’ measure to pass Don’t Say Gay law across all of US

Republicans introduce measure to pass national 'Don't Say Gay' law

Republicans have introduced a measure that would aim to widen the scope of Florida’s much-criticised Don’t Say Gay law to cover the entire United States.

Louisiana Republican Mike Johnson introduced a measure on Tuesday (18 October) which would ban the use of federal money from being used to teach children under 10 about the LGBTQ+ community, The Guardian reported.

The bill is being likened to Florida’s Don’t Say Gay ruling, which restricts the discussion of “sexual orientation and gender identity” in classrooms in the state.

The US-wide bill, introduced by Johnson and 32 other Republican members of Congress, would ban public money from being used to teach children about “sexually-oriented material” and “any topic involving gender identity, gender dysphoria, transgenderism, sexual orientation, or related subjects”.

The bill is unlikely to become law while Democrats currently control both the House of Representatives and the Senate, however the midterm elections on 8 November could affect the make-up of the US government in less than one month.

Johnson said in a statement: “The Democrat Party and their cultural allies are on a misguided crusade to immerse young children in sexual imagery and radical gender ideology.

“This common-sense bill is straightforward. No federal tax dollars should go to any federal, state, or local government agencies, or private organisations that intentionally expose children under 10 years of age to sexually explicit material.”

Florida governor Ron DeSantis signed the Don’t Say Gay bill into law in March this year. It was met by furious protests from students, celebrities and workers – with a high-profile walk-out by Disney employees after it was found CEO Bob Chapek had donated to Republican lawmakers who supported the bill.

Since the bill has passed, states around the US have followed with a wave of homophobic and transphobic bills, with Alabama banning gender-affirming healthcare for trans youth and several states banning trans students from playing sports at school.

President Joe Biden has repeatedly spoken out against anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, condemning Florida’s Don’t Say Gay bill on Twitter before it was passed.

“I want every member of the LGBTQI+ community – especially the kids who will be impacted by this hateful bill – to know that you are loved and accepted just as you are,” he wrote.

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

The Human Rights Campaign’s government affairs director, David Stacy, said in a statement: “A federal ‘Don’t Say Gay or Trans’ bill – modelled after the controversial discriminatory law in Florida and aiming to drive LGBTQ+ families and teachers out of the education system – is their [Republican politicians] latest cruel attempt to stigmatise and marginalise the community, not in an attempt to solve actual problems but only to rile up their extremist base.

“All students deserve to feel safe and welcomed in schools, but politicians like Mike Johnson are using the levers of government to dictate to children, their parents, and their educators what they can read, what they can learn, what they can say and who they can be.”

Stacy added that the “stakes” in the upcoming midterm elections in the US “couldn’t be clearer”.