Human Rights Campaign Condemns Florida Board of Education for Approving Shameful, Discriminatory Measures Targeting LGBTQ+ Students and Teachers

by HRC Staff

Orlando, FL - Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, rebuked the Florida Board of Education for voting to pass two measures that take aim at the privacy, protection, and livelihood of LGBTQ+ students and teachers.

The two proposals were made official during today’s Board meeting in Orlando. The first forces schools to notify parents if bathrooms and locker rooms have not been separated by “biological sex” – a proposal that infringes on the privacy of students and is rife with opportunities for abuse. This effort is designed to effectively push back against the Biden Administration’s updated Title IX guidelines protecting transgender students. The other rule, which the Department of Education discreetly posted online as Florida weathered Hurricane Ian and its aftermath, threatens to revoke the licenses of K-3 teachers who provide lessons on or discuss sexual orientation or gender identity, reflective of intentionally vague lesson guidelines mandated in Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay or Trans” Law. The rule also threatens the same penalty for providing any instruction prohibited under the controversial Stop WOKE Act, signed by Governor Ron DeSantis earlier this year.

Human Rights Campaign’s Associate Regional Campaign Director Ryan Wilson released the following statement:

“Today’s votes by the Florida Board of Education will hurt LGBTQ+ kids, that’s the bottom line. The rules do not solve any actual problems facing Florida’s students, but are just another example of the DeSantis administration’s reach into the classroom via bureaucratic rules that place LGBTQ+ students and teachers in harm’s way. LGBTQ+ children, particularly transgender youth, are already at heightened risk for experiencing stigma, shame, and isolation, and these rules, rooted in extremist rhetoric and part of a political campaign waged against transgender youth, will only further diminish the dignity, privacy, and safety they’re entitled to like every other child. Targeting the careers of educators for the sake of advancing a radical agenda is also not a surprising move from the DeSantis administration. Teachers have a duty to provide an accurate portrayal of our world, its diversity, and its history, with a right to openly live as who they are while making LGBTQ+ students feel safe– without fear of retribution that would cost them their livelihood. This is a nakedly political move at the expense of Floridian children.”

Ryan Wilson, Human Rights Campaign's Associate Regional Campaign Director

In addition to the fact that the “Don’t Say Gay or Trans” Law and the Stop WOKE Act are both difficult to interpret, placing translation of the law onto the responsibility of teachers, the resulting curriculum excluding certain themes may lead to additional harms against LGBTQ+ youth. Prior research has shown that LGBTQ+ students who receive inclusive curriculum report better experiences at school, while those who are in absence of inclusive instruction are at increased risk for harassment, bullying, and violence.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ+ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.


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