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Florida's Governor Signs Controversial Law Opponents Dubbed 'Don't Say Gay'

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in a navy-colored suit holding up a finger as he stands in front of a microphone.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, seen here on Feb. 24, signed a bill into law Monday that restricts the education of LGBTQ topics in the state's public schools.
(Joe Raedle
/
Getty Images )
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Public school teachers in Florida are now banned from holding classroom instruction about sexual orientation or gender identity after Florida's Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, signed the controversial "Parental Rights in Education" bill.
The bill, which some opponents have called "Don't Say Gay," was signed by DeSantis on Monday. It reads, "A school district may not encourage classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels."

Supporters of the legislation say it's meant to allow parents to determine when and in what way to introduce LGBTQ topics to their children. It also gives parents an option to sue a school district if the policy is violated.

During a press conference ahead of signing the law, DeSantis said information provided to kindergarten-aged kids that say "they can be whatever they want to be" was "inappropriate" for children.

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He said, "It's not something that's appropriate for any place, but especially not in Florida."

The "Don't Say Gay" moniker comes from critics of the measure who blast this idea and insist this policy will hurt LGBTQ children.

Studies have shown that LGBTQ youth already facehigher health and suicide risks than their cisgender or straight peers. When those kids are given access to spaces that affirm their gender identity, they report lower rates of suicide attempts, according to The Trevor Project.

Leading up to the bill's signing, critics, whichinclude The Walt Disney Company, lambasted Florida lawmakers for the legislation

But DeSantis was defiant in the face of critics, "I don't care what Hollywood says. I don't care what big corporations say. Here I stand. I am not backing down."

The legislation was also the target of jokes at Sunday night's Academy Awards ceremony.

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