FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DON’T SAY GAY BILL: ASSAULT ON RIGHTS AND VISIBILITY OF FLORIDA’S LGBTQIA+ YOUTH
New York City’s Hetrick-Martin Institute Vehemently Opposes This Legislation
NEW YORK, March 11, 2022 – Hetrick-Martin Institute (HMI) stands with Equality Florida and all Florida LGBTQIA+ residents—especially LGBTQIA+ youth—and their allies —in denouncing the passage of the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by the Florida Legislature.
Such legislation is more than misguided—it is harmful. This bill attempts to outlaw, from kindergarten through third grade, any mention or discussion of LGBTQIA+ issues, and dictate that all such discussions in higher grades be “age-appropriate”—vague language designed to discourage any discussion, lest it potentially violate the murky standard of “age-appropriateness.” Such restrictions serve no valid interest for child welfare, but act only to isolate and silence LGBTQIA+ youth. The danger here lies not in speaking of the reality of LGBTQIA+ children, but rather in denying their existence, and depriving them of their voice.
“Both schools and teachers play a vital role in educating young people about the diversity of the world around them, and how each and every person is deserving of dignity and respect,” says HMI Chief Executive Officer, Joe Pressley. “The ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill prevents teachers from employing teachable moments as they arise to foster tolerance, and educate children about the many differences they will encounter in life, and how best to do so. At Hetrick-Martin Institute, we are dedicated to encouraging conversations that lead to understanding and acceptance, two key ingredients for creating and maintaining a just and equal society.”
HMI calls upon Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to not sign this more than draconian bill into law otherwise known as “Parental Rights in Education”. We at HMI also implore advocates and allies to continue their efforts to encourage businesses and other entities to voice their objections to this legislation, and their deep dissatisfaction with the lawmakers who voted for it.
ABOUT HETRICK-MARTIN INSTITUTE
Hetrick-Martin Institute (HMI) is proud to be the nation’s oldest and largest organization helping gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersex, and asexual (LGBTQIA+) youth between the ages of 13 and 24 to reach their full potential. Through a comprehensive package of direct services and referrals, the organization fosters healthy youth development. HMI’s staff promotes excellence in the delivery of youth services and uses its expertise to create innovative programs that other organizations may use as models. HMI serves a diverse community, the vast majority of whom identify as Black or people of color. The youth organization is dedicated to building its approach to diversity, equity, and inclusion at all levels, throughout its operations and functions.
Chief Executive Officer