Owing to recent political and societal events, communicators have a new perspective as we enter Pride Month 2022. It seems clear the LGBTQIA+ community and its allies face a heavy burden and an uncertain future.
Florida House Bill 1557, or the 'Don’t Say Gay' bill, threatens harm on queer youth. It bans conversation of gender and sexuality in public classrooms. In addition, it likely will increase the anxiety around sexuality and gender in schools, which already is high for LGBTQ+ kids.
In 2015, the National Youth Risk Behavior Survey found gay students are at a far greater risk of depression, suicide and substance use. Classrooms are an essential space for growth. “For youth to thrive in schools and communities, they need to feel socially, emotionally, and physically safe and supported,"according to the CDC.
Though LGBTQ+-inclusive and gender-affirming children’s books are gaining popularity, Bill 1557 likely will ban having them in schools. In fact, queer children’s books already are among some of the most-banned books in the country. The 2020 Most Challenged Books List (600 titles) notes eight of every 10 of its books share LGBTQ+ themes.
Since 1557 explicitly endangers storytelling and representation, we–communicators–must act.
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