She has some suggestions no one asked for.
Former U.S. Congresswoman/2020 presidential candidate/perpetual grifter Tulsi Gabbard has needlessly weighed in on Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law, offering her opinion that the cruel and oppressive law doesn’t go far enough.
“As I read the legislation, I gotta tell you, I was shocked to learn that it only protects kids from kindergarten till third grade,” Gabbard said in a video posted to social media. “Third grade? What about 12th grade or not at all?”
First of all, the law does extend through 12th grade. What the law actually says (in the section that is understandably getting the most attention and criticism) is: “Classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties 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 in accordance with state standards.”
Tulsi Gabbard Thinks Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Law Isn’t Awful Enough As Is
While that is slightly more specific than earlier drafts of the bill that prohibit “classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity” (emphasis mine), it’s still vague enough to cause teachers to fear what might be considered “instruction,” as well as “age-appropriate.” There are reports of LGBTQIA teachers of all grades in Florida deciding to resign rather than be forced into the closet. One sixth-grade teacher was the subject of an angry letter from a group of parents after simply acknowledging the fact that he’d recently gotten married to another man. (Students reportedly asked him where he was after returning from vacation. He told them he got married and that was enough to set parents off.)
Gabbard states in the video that “government has no place in our personal lives, government has no place in our bedrooms,” but that’s the entire point of this law. Gabbard claims that “Parents should raise their kids, not the government,” but support of these “parental rights” completely erase any rights of LGBTQIA parents, just as it does with LGBTQIA teachers.
The vagueness of the language also seems likely to have chilling effects for LGBTQIA students. There is a section of the law that prohibits schools and educators from withholding or encouraging students to withhold information about their “mental, emotional, or physical health or well-being.”
That sounds fine in the abstract, but again, the vagueness is the point. When included in the same bill as the ban on classroom discussions about LGBTQIA issues, it’s impossible not to see this provision as a way to discourage students from discussing issues related to their sexuality with teachers, counselors, and anyone else, as it seems to turn school employees into mandatory reporters for signs of queerness.
Tulsi’s support of anti-LGBTQIA legislation is nothing new. Back before she entered politics, she worked with the Alliance for Traditional Marriage, an anti-gay organization run by her father (a prominent anti-LGBTQ+ activist) that opposed same-sex marriage and supported conversion therapy. When she entered the Hawaii state legislature, she actively worked to oppose LGBTQ+ rights but starting around 2012, she started apologizing for her past language and actions. She worked hard during her presidential campaign to convince Democratic voters that she wasn’t a horrible bigot, and then after she dropped out of the race, one of her last acts in Congress was to introduce an anti-trans bill on her way out the door. And now this.
Literally no one asked for Tulsi Gabbard’s opinion on Florida’s politics but since she’s offering it unprompted, it’s wholly unsurprising to see that her take is trash.
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