How ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Diminishes Same-Sex Parents and Their Children

我们通过发表论文来表彰学生编辑大赛的前 11 名获奖者。这是卢卡斯·科恩-达贝洛夫(Lucas Cohen-d'Arbeloff)17岁的作品。


这篇文章由来自洛杉矶哈佛西湖学校的17岁的Lucas Cohen-d'Arbeloff撰写,是学习网络第九届年度学生社论大赛的前11名获奖者之一,我们收到了16,664份参赛作品。

How ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Diminishes Same-Sex Parents and Their Children

As a rosy-cheeked nine-year-old, I beamed as I walked down a grassy aisle blanketed with flower petals. Serving as a ring bearer for my two dads’ wedding in 2014, I had spent months crafting handmade ring pillows to celebrate my parents. I felt proud to be a part of history.

But today, trouble is brewing. Stories like mine could become off-limits in schools in light of a recent wave of hateful legislation. Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida signed House Bill 1557 — dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by opponents — on March 28. The bill stipulates that classroom instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity “may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students,” according to The New York Times. Similar bills have been introduced in more than a dozen states.

These bills’ vague language calls into question how they will be applied: Who gets to decide what is “appropriate” for a particular age group? Opponents of Florida’s bill have rightly pointed out the danger this ambiguity poses to L.G.B.T.Q. students. But less discussed is how the children of same-sex parents will fare as a result of “Don’t Say Gay.”

Kids with L.G.B.T.Q. parents may grow up without their teachers acknowledging their families. It’s not far-fetched to imagine lawsuits from bigoted parents seeking to use these laws to shut out any L.G.B.T.Q. presence in the curriculum. Even progressive teachers may steer clear of recognizing same-sex parents in class out of fear of losing their jobs. Paula Stephens, a first-grade teacher in Florida, said she now does not know how to proceed with her usual curriculum. This is probably the most sinister aspect of “Don’t Say Gay”: In trying to navigate such deliberately vague language, teachers may have to choose between their own livelihoods and treating their students humanely.

Some same-sex parents have already taken a stand against this injustice, including Lourdes Casares and Kimberly Feinberg, a Floridian couple who mounted a legal challenge to “Don’t Say Gay” on March 31. If laws are passed in other states, other families should follow their lead. We must also compel state and local officials and their corporate supporters to take a stand against this hate.

Advocates of “Don’t Say Gay” claim they support the rights of families; they hid behind “Protect Children” and “Support Parents” signs next to Gov. DeSantis when he signed the bill. But this begs the question: Which families are we protecting? Certainly not ones like mine. I remember the day my parents were given the right by the Supreme Court to get married. I shudder to think about children who have to watch their parents have their rights taken away.

Works Cited

Block, Melissa. “Teachers Fear the Chilling Effect of Florida’s So-Called ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Law.” NPR, 30 March 2022.

Carlisle, Madeleine. “‘I Hope This Law Is Obliterated.’ Plaintiffs in the First Lawsuit Challenging ‘Don’t Say Gay’ in Florida Speak Out.” Time, 31 March 2022.

Nierenberg, Amelia. “What Does ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Actually Say?” The New York Times, 23 March 2022.