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The United States Association of Prides Condemns "Don't Say Gay" bill

Ron deHarte

Marsha Levine

440 Burroughs Street, Suite 523

Detroit, MI 48202

March 11, 2022

The United States Association of Prides (USAP) condemns the Florida legislature's horrific "Don't Say Gay" bill, which is trying to erase young LGBTQI+ people and prevent youth from living authentically and peacefully. The official name of the legislation is the "Parental Rights in Education" bill. Plainly stated, the bill unfairly targets the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, and Intersex (LGBTQI+) community.

USAP represents Pride organizations that touch over 20 million individuals in communities across the country annually. We call on Governor Ron DeSantis to veto this bill. We call on all citizens to fight legislation intended to isolate and degrade LGBTQI+ youth and reject who they are, and deny their existence. We call on all corporate sponsors of Pride programs to denounce this anti-LGBTQI+ bill. Let's be clear, a companies' political spending supporting political candidates who oppose measures favored by the LGBTQI+ community is not acceptable.

The measure bans "classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity" in primary schools. It also prohibits such teaching "in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students," which critics say could be interpreted to extend to all grade levels. If passed, alleged violations may be grounds for parents to bring lawsuits upon school districts.

The Parental Rights in Education bill, which was passed in both Florida legislative bodies, has added fuel to actions being taken by legislators across the country. Our youth should not have to fight for their place at school and be seen in the world. They deserve welcome and safe environments, not book bans, Pride flag removals, and bills that target the well-being of LGBTQI+ youth.

LGBTQI+ youth face higher rates of depression, bullying, and an increased risk of suicide than their peers. We already know that school is not always a safe place for LGBTQI+ students. Most LGBTQI+ students frequently hear anti-LGBTQI+ language and experience harassment related to their sexual orientation and gender expression. The majority of LGBTQI+ students feel unsafe at school and are likely to skip class or even entire days of school to avoid the anti-LGBTQI+ name-calling, bullying, and harassment they face daily. Educators, advisors, and counselors make a big difference for youth. For many students, simply knowing that allies exist can be a source of support. Research shows that LGBTQI+ students with many supportive educators feel safer at school, skip fewer classes, and earn higher grades than students without supportive educators.

This bill and scores of bills across the country have nothing to do with so-called "parental rights" and everything to do with vilifying LGBTQI+ people as dangerous predators and banishing LGBTQI+ narratives and kids from schools. Don't be fooled; these bills are legislative tools of hate designed to portray LGBTQI+ people as a violent force preying on children.

We will be vigilant! Make your vote count and elect political leaders to local educational agencies that support LGBTQI+ students and provide safe learning environments that protect the health and safety of LGBTQI+ students and will support instructional guidance, law, and policies.

We will not stop until every life, regardless of age, gender expression, or sexual orientation, is valued.


The Premier Association Supporting & Enabling Pride Organizers in the United States

The United States Association of Prides (USAP) was established in 2018 with the primary purpose of engaging in activities to promote public education and awareness of the personal rights and civil liberties of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and gender-nonconforming individuals. USAP has a United States geographic focus.

USAP is focused on helping to build vibrant and robust US Pride organizations through collaboration, support, networking, providing resources, helping to develop a national identity of Pride, and offering support and advocacy for its members.

We welcome any LGBTIA+ organization that produces Pride events for their respective community as one of its purposes or activities. Pride events may include a parade, march, rally, festival, arts festival, cultural activity, event, or activity organized for people identifying as Lesbian, Gay Men, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, or other emerging sexual identities.

Working hand-in-hand with InterPride, USAP focuses its efforts on national activities while InterPride focuses on issues of international concern. There are several regional Pride groups, including NERP (Northeast Regional Prides), POSE (Prides of the Southeast), and MPO (Midwest Pride organizations). Pride organizations in the western US are directly affiliated with USAP.


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