Majority of LGBTQ+ parents have considered fleeing Florida over reviled Don’t Say Gay law

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

New research on LGBTQ+ parents in Florida has found most considered moving from the state over its infamous Don’t Say Gay legislation.

New data from the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law has found that 56 per cent of 113 parents surveyed said they considered moving from Florida after the state introduced a damning anti-LGBTQ+ law in March 2022.

According to the new data, 17 per cent of LGBTQ+ parents have already taken the necessary steps to move out of Florida. Nearly 9 out of 10 said they were concerned about the the effects the legislation would have on their families and children.

Almost one quarter of parents surveyed said they feared further harassment from neighbours due to their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Consequences from the bill have already emerged for families, with surveyed parents reporting their children have experienced a rise in bullying and harassment. Children of LGBTQ+ parents are scared to talk about their parents in school or their own LGBTQ+ identities, due to fears of legal consequences.

Ron DeSantis, the Florida flag
Ron DeSantis signed Don’t Say Gay into law on 28 March, 2022. (Getty/PinkNews)

“The Don’t Say Gay bill claims to be for parent rights, but my rights have been taken away since its passage,” one parent has said.

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“My right to send my daughter to school freely, my right to live without fear of who I am, my right to not be discriminated against based on my sexual orientation, and my daughter to not be discriminated against based on her parents’ sexual orientation.”

Author of the study, Abbie E Goldberg, a professor at Clark University, said the stress the legislation creates for parents and children is “significant.”

“Legislation can have a negative impact on LGBTQ+ parent families by cultivating a climate of fear and insecurity,” she said.

“For LGBTQ+ parents without the means to move or send their children to private schools, the stress that this legislation creates will be significant.”

What is Florida’s Don’t Say Gay law?

Florida governor Ron DeSantis signed into a law a damaging piece of legislation last year restricting schools from teaching students about sexual orientation and gender issues.

Teachers who fail to comply have been threatened with lawsuits.

The bill, known formally as HB 1557, mandates that school staff must out students to their potentially unsupportive families, stating that parents must be notified if there is any change in a “student’s mental, emotional, or physical health or well-being”.

The only exception is “if a reasonably prudent person would believe that disclosure would result in abuse, abandonment, or neglect”.