The Log Cabin Republicans, a national gay conservative group, have accused Chasten Buttigieg, husband of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, of ‘sowing fear’ over a bill in Florida that would restrict classroom discussions about sex , sexuality, sexual orientation or gender identity.
The bill in question, sponsored by State Rep. Joe Harding (R-Williston), would partially ban teachers from “encouraging discussion” about sexual orientation or gender identity in elementary grades. (in Florida, i.e. kindergarten through 3rd grade), or “in a manner that is not appropriate for the age or development of the students”.
Buttigieg recently attacked Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Twitter over the bill being pushed by fellow DeSantis Republicans, saying it would “kill kids” by making it harder for LGBTQ kids to recognize their identity. He later appeared on CNN to discuss his opposition to the bill, which he said “essentially pushes kids back into the closet” and tells them they “don’t belong here.”
Buttigieg pointed to a survey conducted by The Trevor Project, the largest national suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ youth, which found that 42% of LGBTQ youth had considered suicide in the past. past year. Buttigieg argued that the bill would send a negative message to LGBTQ youth that they don’t belong by telling them “…[W]We can’t talk about you, we can’t even talk about your families.
But Log Cabin Republicans have defended the bill, accusing Buttigieg of “dishonest defamation[ing]Florida Republicans in an effort to cast them as anti-gay.
In a statement, the group noted that respondents to the survey referenced by Buttigieg were school-aged teenagers and young adults, not elementary school children. As such, argued Log Cabin, comparing the statistics from this survey to a bill targeting classroom content for young children is “dismissive at best and propaganda at worst.”
“Unlike Chasten Buttigieg’s LGBT scare campaign and his attempt to get attention on CNN, Florida’s parental rights in education bill won’t silence gay people. It certainly won’t kill them. All of this only reinforces the common-sense belief that teacher-led classroom discussions about sexual and gender identity have no place in primary schools,” the Log Cabin President said. , Charles Moran, in a statement, “Apparently Pete and Chasten Buttigieg are so left-leaning that they’re okay with Florida kindergartners learning about gender fluidity and sexual preferences in the classroom.
“Parents are free to discuss these matters with their children as they see fit, but that decision is up to parents and not agenda-driven leftists like the Buttigiegs. One can be gay and also believe that parents have the right to control the upbringing of their young children, especially when it comes to sexual identity,” he continued. “Log Cabin Republicans will not sit idly by while the left engages in dishonest attempts to smear conservatives like bigots, as Chasten is sadly trying to do here.
“Furthermore, Buttigieg’s misrepresentation of the Trevor Project study, which mentions nothing about preadolescent children, is both disappointing and harmful,” Moran concluded. “When someone in a position of leadership like Chasten Buttigieg uses such false and hyperbolic rhetoric, it distracts from meaningful discussions of real issues around LGBT suicide.”
The bill, which critics have dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, is being touted by Republicans as a “parental rights” bill that would keep parents informed of any changes to childcare services. support for students regarding their children, which could range from developing a specialized learning plan to additional counseling for emotionally challenged young people to deciding whether or not to call a transgender child by name or preferred pronouns.
The bill contains an amendment that allows teachers to retain some information in rare cases where “a reasonably prudent person would believe that disclosure would result in abuse, abandonment or neglect”.
But LGBTQ activists argued there would be no nuance to how the statute, if passed, would be implemented in practice, leading teachers to potentially alienate LGBTQ children or children raised in same-sex homes because the teacher is banned. to affirm such a reality. For example, they ask, if a child of same-sex parents, uninvited, speaks openly in class about their family life, is the mere mention of an LGBTQ parent considered “inappropriate” content for which the student or teacher will be punished or reprimanded?
In response, Harding, the bill’s sponsor, argued in committee testimony that the bill was not intended to stifle student speech, but simply to ensure that “age-inappropriate” topics are not encouraged or pursued by teachers in the classroom.