Florida school district bans book about adorable gay penguins under vile Don’t Say Gay law

A cover of the book And Tango Makes Three featuring two adult penguins leaning into each other with a baby chick nestled in between them

A Florida school district has banned an adorable book about the true story of a same-sex penguin couple raising a baby chick in response to the state’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law. 

The award-winning 2005 children’s book, And Tango Makes Three, features the story of a real-life same-sex penguin couple – Roy and Silo – that build a nest together at New York City’s Central Park Zoo. The birds eventually adopted a penguin chick, Tango, and raised it as their own. 

However, Lake County School District removed the book, by authors Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, from its classrooms and school libraries because they believe it falls foul of the state’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law. 

The law, also known as HB 1557, essentially bans discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in Florida schools through third grade. Anti-LGBTQ+ governor Ron DeSantis championed and signed the measure into law in March 2022

And Tango Makes Three was one of several books it “administratively removed” to comply with the anti-LGBTQ+ law, according to independent journalism site Popular Information. Other titles included A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo (a tale about a gay bunny) and In Our Mothers’ House (a story about three kids with two mums). 

The school district claimed the removal of these books was required “due to content regarding sexual orientation/gender identification prohibited” in the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law. 

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“We removed access to And Tango Makes Three for our Kindergarten through third-grade students in alignment with Florida HB 1557, which prohibits classroom instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity for those grade levels,” Sherri Owens, the Lake County Florida communications director, told Fox News Digital.

People hold up signs in support of the LGBTQ+ community as they protest against Florida governor Ron DeSantis, who championed the state's 'Don't Say Gay' bill
Advocates have condemned Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law for silencing classroom discussions on LGBTQ+ people and identities. (Getty)

Other counties in Florida also barred LGBTQ-themed books from circulation, citing the state’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law. 

The school district in Seminole County removed three LGBTQ+ books – I Am JazzJacob’s New Dress and 10,000 Dresses – from bookshelves accessible to students in kindergarten through third grade, Popular Information reported. 

The district said the books will only be available to 4th and 5th graders if a parent has “provided written consent and picks up the book from the principal or designee at the school”. 

Similar books containing LGBTQ+ characters or themes were removed from classrooms and school libraries in Manatee County, also because of the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law. 

Right-wing groups have increasingly targeted LGBTQ+ books and their availability in schools. 

A librarian in Michigan went viral after she described being “threatened” and “cursed on the phone” because the library stocked LGBTQ+ books. 

Another library in Mississippi was denied vital funding unless it removed LGBTQ+ books from shelves, but it managed to raise the vital cash with the help of generous donors from the furry community.

An increasingly influential network of conservative groups are working to ban an increasing number of books from school libraries, according to PEN America

A report from the group found 41 per cent of books banned in the 2021-22 school year featured people who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community or explicitly addressed queer themes. 

At least 50 conservative parent and community groups actively pushed for book bans in US schools, and these groups played a role in at least half of the 2,532 instances of individual book bans in the school year. 

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