Our country is supposed to be built on the idea that everyone is free to be whoever they want to be.
In the earliest days of our nation’s founding, pilgrims fled to America to escape prosecution for being different.
However, we seem to have lost that part of our country.
Our country no longer stands for freedom and being your true self, but for hiding the parts of yourself other people don’t like or disagree with.
The “Don’t Say Gay” bill in Florida is a
perfect example of this.
Kids are being forced to hide who they are just because some adults don’t agree with it.
This bill that was just passed has made it so that teachers can’t teach about anything about the LGBTQ+ community in schools.
It also has a possibility of forcing teachers to out students who admit to being gay in the classroom.
Now, this is incredibly dangerous for so many reasons.
The main reason is it might be unsafe for them at home if their teachers out them.
Roughly 1.6 million youth are homeless each year in the United States.
Forty percent of them identify as LGBTQ+ (Lesley University).
LGBTQ+ youth only make up seven percent of the total youth population.
That means a large number of LGBTQ+ youth in the United States are homeless.
Usually, because their parents don’t accept them.
Besides homelessness, it can also lead to abuse and violence in the home.
Teachers being forced to out their students leads to the risk of a minor being kicked out of their home or potentially even worse situations.
What is a child supposed to do?
They can’t work or find their own place to live.
Would Florida rather have students out on the street than have teachers keep their secrets?
A lot of students see their teacher as a safe person.
For a lot of kids, a teacher can fill in for a sort of parental role, especially when a child doesn’t have supportive parents at home.
This bill is going to take that away from so many students.
It’s taking away possibly the only safe adult they have in their life.
Not to mention the fact that there’s nothing wrong with being a part of the LGBTQ+ community, especially at a young age.
This bill is teaching children that they should be ashamed of who they are.
It is teaching kids that there is something wrong with them for being the way that they are.
It’s not something they can help.
It’s not a decision these kids are making.
This is just the way that they are and there’s nothing wrong with it.
This bill is turning it into something disgraceful.
Something so bad it can’t even be talked about.
Students need to know that it’s okay.
They also need to know that there’s nothing wrong with them because of it.
Feeling ashamed about something they can’t control can be a huge burden on a child.
With LGBTQ+ students already having an increased rate of depression and suicidal thoughts, this doesn’t help.
LGBTQ+ students are already more than 4 times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers.
That means that every 45 seconds, at least one LGBTQ+ teen attempts suicide in the United States.
It’s also been found that 42% of LGBTQ+ teens have at least considered suicide (The Trevor Project).
It’s absolutely disgusting that a country that claims to be founded on uniqueness and differences is making its youth feel this way.
I’m ashamed to be an American right now and I think everyone should be.
This shouldn’t be happening anywhere in the world, let alone in Florida.