“Don’t Say or Write Gay”

It seems that the achievements of the Stonewall Rebellion in June 1969 and the passage of the same-sex marriage in June 2015 did more for the  advancements of the LGBTQ+ population than during the period from June 2022 through April 2023 when the Anti-Defamation League and GLAAD, a media monitoring organization, counted 350 anti-L.G.B.T.Q incidents in cities in such large states as New York, California, Florida and Texas.

These incidents included online harassment, gatherings of armed protestors outside drag shows and bomb threats against hospitals that provide gender transition care and government buildings.  As of the week of June 12th during PRIDE month, A.D.L. and GLAAD had documented 101 such incidents in the first three weeks of June, twice the number from the previous year.  According to The New York Times, June 23,2023, of the 356 anti-L.G.B.T.Q. incidents, racism and antisemitism were also factors. The Washington Post reports that anti-trans bills have doubled since 2022.  Legislators have introduced more than 400 anti-trans bills, more than were introduced from 2018 to 2022.

Governor Ron De Santis’s Attempt to Eradicate ‘Woke’

In 2022, the American Library Library Association reported that efforts to ban books nearly doubled in 2022 over the previous year.  There are fights over what books should be banned from library shelves, have causing school board riffs.  The books of concern were books by or about L.G.B.T.Q. people or about people of color.  Among them classics like Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, and newer works such as Honey Bee by Jodi Picoult and transgender activist Jennifer Finney Boylan, Juno Dawson’s This Book Is Gay and Maia Kobabe’s Gender Queer.  Amanda Gorman’s poem The Hill We Climb  read at Biden’s 2021 Inauguration)has been banned as well as James Patterson’s The Maximum Ride series.  In fact, James Patterson who lives in Florida wrote a letter last March to the local newspaper TCPalm.com, requesting members of the public to “send a polite note” to DeSantis after the Martin County School District removed his Maximum Ride Series from school bookshelves. (Patterson, a highly successful author, is known to give a great deal of money to independent book stores so they can survive).

“If a parent doesn’t want his child to read a book, that’s fine,” pointed out Picoult in an interview, but that doesn’t mean he should decide for all parents.

“Don’t Say Gay Law”

Governor De Santis is running for the Republican presidential nomination.  He describes efforts to bring LGBT issues into schools as “woke indoctrination.”  The parents should have full rein of what is taught in the classroom.  Initially, a state law was put into place last April that prohibits classroom instruction on L.G.B.T.Q. subjects throughout third grade.  Now with the “Don’t Say Gay Law,”  it will also apply to students in grades four to twelve.

It puts a muzzle on what the teachers can exhibit too:  No rainbow stickers on walls, pictures of their same-sex husband or wife on the desk.  The teacher can be expelled for doing so. They are also supposed to report to the parents if a child comes out at school.

Children spend more time at school than they do at home.  If they don’t feel comfortable coming out to a parent, they may feel more at ease with a teacher they would confide in.  Teaching that stymies conversation, discussion is Orwellian.  It conveys shame, fear and ongoing stigma. “It takes a village,” you know.

The Backlash

While life may seem easier for L.G.B.T.Q. kids in high school with Gay-Straight Alliances, same-sex proms, nevertheless their mental health is worse than their heterosexual counterparts regardless of the growing number of non-binary identities.  “The Mental Health of queer youth has continued to suffer,” according to The New York Times.  However, all reported rates of mental health problems among all young people have been rising for the last decade, but especially for non-heterosexual students.  One in five attempted suicide in the past year.  This is nearly four times the rate of straight students.  Transgender youth in particular have considered suicide in the past year.

Trans Care Ban Questioned in Florida

On June 6, a Florida judge blocked enforcement of De Santis’s signed law last May that banned transgender affirming care, for not only children, but adults as well. As the ban’s constitutionality is argued in court, the U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle granted a preliminary injunction against Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo, the Florida Board of Medicine, the Florida Board of Osteopathic Medicine and other state leaders in the meantime.

The injunction does not refer to gender-affirming treatment for adults, not minors.  It allows parents of transgender children to administer GnRH agonists which align with their childrens’  gender identity.  Judge Hinkle stated that the denial would cause needless suffering for a substantial number of patients and will increase anxiety, depression, and the risk of suicide,” according to doctors at the hearing.

Drag Shows

A U.S. judge on June 23 blocked a new Florida law restricting drag performances, the third time this month that federal courts have “enjoined “laws backed by Florida Governor Ron Santis re: gender or LGBTQ matters.  Santis wants “kids to be kids.”   In all three cases, the issues supported by DeSantis, lost on grounds that the laws appear to infringe on people’s constitutional rights.

Kids probably see more on television and are well aware of cross-dressing.  Why do you think the movie/play “Some Like It Hot” is so appealing?

When Your Child is Gay

When Your Child Is Gay: What You Need To Know

For more detailed advice, see book, co-authored with a mother of a gay son and a psychiatrist, Jonathan L. Tobkes, M.D.

Wesley Cullen Davidson

Wesley Cullen Davidson is an award-winning freelance writer and journalist specializing in parenting as well as gay and lesbian content. For the past two years, Wesley has concentrated almost exclusively on the lesbian and gay community, specifically on advising straight parents of gay children on how to be better parents and raise happy, well-adjusted adults

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