Satire | ‘Don’t Say Gay’ is really effective legislation


Douglas R. Clifford/Tampa Bay Times via AP

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis displays the signed Parental Rights in Education, aka the Don’t Say Gay bill, flanked by elementary school students during a news conference on Monday, March 28, 2022, at Classical Preparatory school in Shady Hills.

By Paige Wasserman, Staff Columnist

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the controversial “Parental Rights in Education” bill on Monday, also known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. The bill prohibits classroom instruction involving gender identity and sexual orientation, specifically for children in kindergarten through grade three, or “in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate.”

And maybe I’m crazy, but … does anyone else think this is like, super effective, necessary legislation?

No, seriously. Because developmentally inappropriate discussion of sexual orientation desperately needs addressing! I mean, don’t you guys remember that completely real day in kindergarten where our teachers used two Barbies and two G.I. Joe action figures to simulate gay sex in vivid detail? Mortifying. We need to regulate these kinds of lessons, which, might I remind you, definitely happen.

Everybody knows that children have never been gay until recent history. There was definitely no devastating epidemic — exacerbated by an apathetic Republican administration — that wiped out an entire generation of queer people. The growing population of LGBTQ+ people is all because of the woke public school curriculum. English classes reading “The Color Purple”? Gay. AP Government and Politics covering Obergefell v. Hodges? Queer propaganda. Homozygous genotypes in biology? HOMO?!?! Gay.

If our schools don’t address queerness, then kids won’t ever know queer people exist! Floridian children don’t have lives outside of the classroom. Every morning, an alligator chases them for five miles to school. Exhausted from a day of learning, they go to bed promptly at 4 p.m. There are no children with gay parents, especially not in South Beach, where you can get a good ol’ heterosexual french toast at a drag queen-free brunch. Florida — aside from the snowflake-appeasing public school curriculum — is a completely straight, cisgender state. Once you exit the state and enter Georgia, glitter assaults the windshield of your 2013 Honda Civic and “Rain On Me” by Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande reverberates through the interstate like a tornado warning.

If we were to address homosexuality with our students, we would have to address homophobia. But why address something that doesn’t exist anymore? Everybody knows that Hilary Duff ended homophobia with an earth-shattering public service announcement. Problem solved.

And not to mention, this bill is perfect for young queer educators! After all, they keep saying “do not perceive me” on TikTok. Now, we are largely barred from teaching about fundamental aspects of their identities. You’re welcome, teachers! There will be virtually no dissent, which we wouldn’t have to worry about anyway because it’s not like teachers are currently quitting en masse or anything. That’d be crazy!

Like I said about backlash — there is none! Now, I know what you’re thinking. What about this video of Florida high school students walking out to protest the bill? Fake news. This is actually a site-specific immersive production of the play “The Laramie Project.” And thank heavens “Don’t Say Gay” might prohibit high school theater programs from ever performing “The Laramie Project” again. The play’s content is way too heavy, and high school actors aren’t good enough to perform it. High school theater programs can just mount “The Crucible” for the fourth time in 20 years. Besides, arts programs don’t have the budget for new sets and costumes. Reduce, reuse, recycle, am I right?

Ultimately, this legislation has one goal — keep parents comfortable in their inability to foster difficult conversations. I mean, God forbid little Huxley comes home and asks, “Mommy, how is it that my friend Kaighleigh has two mommies? I’ve never seen that before.” Mom could say, “You know how Daddy and I loved each other before he left us for his cousin? Kaighleigh’s mommies love each other like that, too.” But that’s too much pressure! Instead, Florida moms will panic and Naruto run into their gator-proofed pools to create a diversion.

In all seriousness, this legislation is stupid, needless and harmful. Times are changing, and we need to change with them. We can’t pretend queer people don’t exist. Kids will be born queer no matter what we do and, lucky for us, we are bringing them up in a more vibrant, accepting world. It’s time to brave what we don’t know and choose love and life for our nation’s children.

Paige Wasserman (she/her) writes about the arts, pop culture, campus culture and things that make her want to scream. You can reach her at [email protected].