How many of you have relatives that live in Florida? Are your relatives in school right now? Are they part of the 40% affected by Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law, which prohibits teachers from talking about gender and sexuality in schools? With this law, trans people and other minorities are experiencing erasure from the school system. As a supporter of the LGBTQ community, I felt it was time to bring awareness to what’s happening in Florida since it’s only 14 hours away by car and 2 hours away by plane. Transphobia is still happening, as shown by the increase in hate crimes against transgender people. It can be helped by the Florida Government passing an act or state law prohibiting discrimination against the LGBTQ community.
Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law negatively impacts transgender people. It prevents trans students from identifying as their authentic gender and influences repressive school policies. According to TheHill.com, “Already, reports have surfaced detailing Florida’s attempts to get ahead of potential lawsuits…by rolling out new policies that limit how LGBTQ+ issues and identities may be talked about in class.” This shows others that some people in power think ignoring people’s identities is okay. Thehill.com also says, “This [law] will stoke division and worsen anti-LGBTQ+ violence, which has increased nationwide over the last year.” Furthermore, this law could endanger transgender people by sending out a message that the LGBTQ + community isn’t welcome in the world, causing more people to become transphobic or worse. It requires trans people to hide, live in fear, and acknowledge that transphobia could worsen.
There are plenty of ways to prevent Florida’s law from encouraging or worsening transphobia. According to Equality Florida’s website, “We need to pass the Florida Competitive Workforce Act (FCWA), which would finally prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ Floridians.” In addition, this could change Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law by keeping the changes of Florida’s law to a minimum because it could be seen as discriminatory. Equality Florida also says, “Currently, 60% of the state’s population is protected by local nondiscrimination ordinances. But a state law will ensure protections exist throughout Florida.” We have to push for a state law to protect the other 40% of the LGBTQ+ population, especially trans people, while also showing people that we won’t stand for prejudice. To summarize, we should fight for the FCWA to become a state law to discourage and lessen transphobia and other LGBTQ prejudices.
When I first became aware of the problem, I wondered how someone could create something legal that hides and ignores groups of people. I wonder how an idea could cause this much damage and push back the progress we made. This problem can affect my future because I am still developing, like all kids. Eventually, we’ll grow up, and we or the kids we may have may identify as trans. If this problem isn’t solved, we could face a law that diminishes our opinions of ourselves and others. It would also show everyone that it is okay to discriminate. If this problem were solved, it would mean that people wouldn’t have to be legally restricted from being who they are.
As indicated, transphobia is a present problem that negatively affects trans people. Florida’s government can solve this with an act or state law. Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law restricts everything that has to do with the LGBTQ+ community in schools and shows youth that having an identity other than straight or cisgender is wrong. I hope this essay inspires you to help or encourage others to help pass the FCWA to better our society and continue our progress as a nation.