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Chasten Buttigeig Slams Florida Measure That Would Ban Discussions About Sexual Orientation and Gender in Classrooms

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Chasten Buttigieg criticized a Florida bill that would ban discussions about sexual orientation and gender in classrooms, telling CNN’s John Berman that the measure is “essentially pushing kids back into the closet.”

Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill was passed in the House Education and Employment Committee late last week. The bill, colloquially known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, aims to “reinforce the fundamental right of parents to make decisions regarding the upbringing and control of 9 their children in a specified manner.”

The bill wants to prohibit “a school district from encouraging classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels or in a specified manner” and authorizes parents to “bring an action against a school district to obtain a declaratory judgment that a school district procedure or practice violates certain provisions of law.”

Buttigieg said the bill, which was introduced by Florida state Representative Joe Harding (R) would “kill kids.”

“As a kid who grew up for 18 years being told ‘you don’t belong, something about you is wrong,’ sometimes you take that trauma to heart and unfortunately there are a lot of kids in this country who do the worst because we tell them something about you is twisted and you don’t belong here,” Buttigieg told Berman, citing a Trevor Project survey that 42 percent of LGBTQ+ students considered ending their lives in the last year.

Buttigieg, the husband of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, said the bill isn’t about “parental rights” at all but about discrimination and control.

“I don’t really think this is about parents’ rights. Parents’ rights to do what? To tell LGBTQ kids that they don’t belong? To push LGBTQ families away and into the closet? I mean, hypothetically, if we’re having a bake sale on Friday, would my husband and I not be welcome at the school because we’re in a same sex relationship?” he said.

“This will hurt families and this isn’t about education or parents’ rights. I think it’s about using the LGBTQ community as a scapegoat, which we’ve been used as multiple times throughout history, and I just don’t agree with it,” he added.

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You can hear what Buttigieg said in the video below.

Harding, the bill’s sponsor, has said that the bill would be “defending the most awesome responsibility a person can have: being a parent.”

“That job can only be given to you by above,” he told reporters last week.

Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.

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