Florida pass controversial "Don't Say Gay" bill
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Florida pass controversial “Don’t Say Gay” bill

Florida’s Republican-leaning Senate have passed the controversial “Don’t Say Gay” bill in a 22-17 vote this morning.

The controversial Parental Rights in Education bill, dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, will ban teachers from discussing sexual orientation and gender identity in the classroom between kindergarten and the third grade.

Advocates have warned that the bill will likely lead to an increase in bullying and suicides within the LGBTQIA+ community, by working backwards and further stigmatising homosexuality and gender non-conforming.

Florida students protest Don't Say Gay bill
Students at Winter Park High School protest Florida’s Don’t Say Gay bill | Credit: Will Larkin

The bill passed Florida’s Senate this morning, despite every Democrat and two Republicans voting against it.

Protests have been breaking out across the state, pleading for the bill to be scrapped. On Monday, students at Winter Park High School in Florida participated in a mass walkout in support of LGBTQIA+ students.

The protest was organised by 11th graders Will Larkins and Maddi Zorne, which saw more than 500 students students walk out of class holding signs that read, “protect trans kids” and chanting “We say gay!”.

Larkins told CNN, “We wanted to show our government that this isn’t going to stop. There were walkouts all last week. This is going to continue. If this passes, there will be protests everywhere.”

“We wanted to get the attention of our representatives, our senators, because the point is to show them that we are the ones in powers. The people are the ones in powers and what they’re doing doesn’t represent us, especially marginalized groups.”

The bill is expected to be introduced to schools by July this year, but students across the state are continuing to protest.