Florida State Board of Education Proposes New Rules Targeted LGBTQ+ Students, Parents and Educators

by Cullen Peele

The Human Rights Campaign condemns the Florida State Board of Education for proposing a slate of discriminatory rules targeting LGBTQ+ students, parents and educators.

The proposed rules will impact teachers’ licenses, a student’s ability to use an affirming name and pronoun, and even restrict access to student-led clubs and activities. The Board of Education also proposed a rule that denies transgender students from being able to access the bathroom consistent with their gender identity.

Human Rights Campaign Legislative Counsel Courtnay Avant released the following statement:

“Schools should be safe and welcoming places for all kids. But unfortunately, acting at the behest of the administration of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, the Florida State Board of Education is once again attacking the LGBTQ+ community by proposing a slate of hateful rules designed to isolate and demonize LGBTQ+ students.

The Board is trampling on the rights of parents, and at a time when the state faces a shortage of thousands of educators, is threatening the credentials and jobs of teachers. The Human Rights Campaign strongly opposes these proposed rules and will continue fighting for all LGBTQ+ students in Florida to live free from discrimination.”

The Florida Board of Education proposed the following rules:

Research has found that LGBTQ+ youth who attend schools with inclusive curricula, such as including discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity in health education, reading LGBTQ+ authors or stories in English classes, and/or teaching about LGBTQ+ people/movements in history, feel safer, are safer, and do better in school. In addition, TGNC+ youth who have their names, pronouns, and gender identity affirmed in more contexts report significantly lower levels of depression, anxiety, and suicidality. Data from HRC’s 2022 Youth Study bares this out, with TGNC+ + youth whose chosen name and pronoun are affirmed more frequently at school, and who are able to use the school restroom that matches their gender identity, reporting lower levels of depression. This same pattern carries over for Florida LGBTQ+ youth specifically:

  • 75% of Florida TGNC+ youth who never have their chosen name used at school screened positive for depression, versus 54.1% who had their chosen name always affirmed.

  • 68.6% of Florida TGNC+ youth who are unable to use the restroom that matches their gender identity screened positive for depression, compared with 54.6% who are always able to do so.

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