Thank God I’m a Gay Mainer and Not a Gay Floridian
Florida...what are you doing?
I know you've probably heard of the so-called, 'Don't Say Gay' bill in Florida that is about to become a law. Yes, a law. According to NBC News, the republican originated bill was passed in the Republican-led Congress in Florida. Here's what the bill does in part according to NBC News:
The measure bans 'classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity' in kindergarten through third grade. It also prohibits such teaching 'in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students,' which critics say could be interpreted to extend to all grade levels. Parents can sue school districts for alleged violations.
Despite protests from as high up as our President, this bill will become law because the Governor of Florida is 100% for it.
Where to start. First, if you have a child in class who has two moms or two dads, well, they can't mention that nor can the teacher address that. What do you think the message will be for the 9-year-old in 3rd grade who can't talk about their parents? Shame, confusion, and the clear message that it's bad to have two moms or two dads.
To have a law, an actual law on the books adding to the shame that some may already feel is unforgivable.
I shake my head writing this. As someone who struggled to find her voice for years, I can't imagine having had the message pounded in me that it can't even be discussed. Listen, decades ago when I was small, it wasn't discussed, because it wasn't that prevalent a topic. Nowadays, kids are damn woke! Sexuality, gender, it's common discussion, and being able to ask questions or find your voice is encouraged for most.
Except in Florida. The bill takes effect July 1.
I feel lucky to be able to call myself a Mainer for several reasons. But mostly I feel lucky because I have a public job and I'm openly gay in that job. I never feel slighted for it. Hell, now I'm not the only one! But becoming comfortable in your own skin takes time. With social media, the pressure on kids is something a lot of us never had to face. To have a law, an actual law on the books adding to the shame that some may already feel is unforgivable.
Shame on your Florida. How dare you! Thank you, Maine. You're not perfect, but I've never been so grateful to call you my home.