DeSantis Folds On ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Fight

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is on a losing streak. From presidential primaries to drag queens to Disney, DeSantis hasn’t racked up one major victory since his re-election in 2022.

Now you can add a loss on “Don’t Say Gay.”

Late Monday afternoon, the Associated Press (AP) reported that Florida education officials reached a settlement in a civil rights lawsuit targeting the 2022 law known as “Don’t Say Gay.”

The agreement says sexual orientation and gender identity can be discussed in classrooms, as long as it’s not a part of the curriculum.

“The power of the law was in its vagueness,” Safe Schools Executive Director Scott Galvin told OutSFL moments after the news broke. “You weren’t quite sure, as a teacher, what you were and weren’t allowed to say. This clarifies a lot of things and states what can be done.”

Sold to the world as a protection for parents’ rights, it quickly became clear the law’s goal was to force teachers back into the closet and keep students from coming out. The vague law was primarily enforced through fear and intimidation.

DeSantis and his enablers in the legislature have been targeting LGBTQ for years with repressive and unconstitutional policies.

“We knew what the impact of this law would be,” PRISM Executive Director Maxx Fenning said. “It was never about the nuts and bolts, it was about the ambiguity and potential for overinterpretation. In the past two years, the ‘Don't Say Gay or Trans’ law has created chaos in our schools."

Teacher and Broward School Board member Sarah Leonardi has been a longtime ally of LGBTQ students and teachers. She became the target of conservative bigotry and hatred after she posted pictures of Wilton Manors students having lunch at Rosie’s.

“What I hear from family and employees is a lot of fear and confusion,” she said. “What’s allowed? Will someone lose their job for who they are?”

The practical implications are that gay-straight alliances (GSAs) will be allowed to meet again at schools, teachers can display rainbow flags and stickers, and students may be able to find a safe person to talk with.

Details of the settlement will be scrutinized over the coming days, but everyone agrees this is a win for the LGBTQ community.

“We're overjoyed that the state is finally offering clarity around this law, so educators can get back to teaching and students can feel safe and supported in their classrooms,” Fenning said.

Leonardi echoed his tone, saying, “I’m pleased there is a lot of clarity around the law. It goes to show that whatever kind of indoctrination they thought was going on in our classrooms wasn’t going on. I hope what LGBTQ+ families hear from this is they will not be erased.”

As for Galvin, he’s ready to order pizza and bring everyone together. “Safe Schools is gonna throw a party.”


‘Don’t Say Gay’ Settlement Explained



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