We recently had an election here in Jupiter that generated a fair amount of local advertising, e.g., lawn signs at street corners, and discussion at the playgrounds, soccer fields, dog parks, skate parks, beach, etc. People are very interested in who will be on the town council and who will be the mayor. The hot button issues are real estate development, traffic, and spending on open space and parks.
State politics, on the other hand, don’t seem to capture Floridians’ attention. Far more people in Massachusetts talked about Governor Ron DeSantis, for example, than people here in Jupiter.
Here’s a UK magazine reporting on a statement by a California resident on proposed Florida legislation: “Apple CEO Tim Cook slams ‘deeply concerning’ Don’t Say Gay bill as ‘proud member of LGBT+ community’”: Apple CEO Tim Cook has condemned Florida’s harmful “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which if signed into law would prohibit “classroom discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity”.
The UK’s BBC reports on another California’s opinion: “Disney apologises for ‘silence’ on ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill”.
Walt Disney’s CEO has apologised for his “painful silence” on a Florida sex education bill critics warn will isolate LGBT youth.
“You needed me to be a stronger ally in the fight for equal rights and I let you down. I am sorry,” Bob Chapek told employees.
His comments come amid internal complaints that “gay affection” is routinely cut from some Disney films.
The so-called ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill is due to become law.
It bans discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity from kindergarten to third grade classes (aged 8-9) or when “not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards”.
The BBC article is misleading, I think. It says that “discussions” of 2SLGBTQQIA+ are banned in kindergarten, but, in fact, I think it is only “instruction” regarding 2SLGBTQQIA+ that is banned. So the kindergarteners could discuss the 10 Best Gay Saunas in the USA and the teacher could say which one was his/her/zir/their favorite. But the teacher couldn’t organize a lesson about what happens inside the 10 best gay saunas. (3 out of the 10 best gay saunas in the above-referenced article are actually in Florida, in case an after-school program for K-3 or a pre-school needs to organize a field trip)
The UK’s Daily Mail also wrote about this, March 9, 2022:
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Wednesday said a Florida bill that would place limits on instruction about gender identity and sexual orientation is a ‘form of bullying’ against LGBTQI kids.
The Parental Rights in Education bill, dubbed the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill by critics, was passed by Florida’s Republican-dominated Senate on Tuesday and will now head to GOP Governor Ron DeSantis’ desk.
Psaki said the bill ‘would discriminate against families, against kids, put these kids in a position of not getting the support they need at a time where that’s exactly what they need.’
Its text says that ‘classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.’
President Joe Biden himself condemned the bill as ‘hateful.’
A full-scale war in Europe apparently cannot distract the Biden Administration from focusing on Florida politics. Nor does a war in Europe distract news media in the UK from writing about what the Florida legislature is up to.
What do the haters say in favor of this bill, according to the Daily Mail?
[DeSantis spokeswoman Christina] Pushaw pointed out to DailyMail.com that the legislation does not include the word ‘gay’ or single out any one identity or orientation.
‘The idea that it’s inappropriate for adults to instruct kindergarteners about sexual topics should not be controversial in the least,’ she said in response to Psaki’s comments.
‘Children should never be sexualized. 4-9 year olds are far too young to be learning about these topics in school. If a student has any questions about sexuality or gender, it’s solely up to that child’s parent or guardian to decide how they want to answer those questions. This is not an LGBT issue, and most Floridians – gay or straight – are fully in favor of child safeguarding and parents’ rights.’
Separately, if we combine Ukraine and 2SLGBTQQIA+, we find a 2021 article, “‘Constantly pursued’: Ukraine’s LGBT+ activists attacked online and in the street” (Reuters):
Ukraine legalised gay sex in 1991, but conservative elements in the mainly Orthodox Christian nation often speak out against rights for LGBT+ people, and members of the far-right regularly target groups and events linked to the community.
The LGBT Human Rights Nash Mir Center, which monitors anti-LGBT+ violence in Ukraine, recorded 24 attacks on LGBT+ centres and events last year, more than double the figure for 2019.
Article 51 of the [Ukraine] Constitution specifically defines marriage as a voluntary union between a man and a woman. No legal recognition exists for same-sex marriage, nor is there any sort of more limited recognition for same-sex couples
Will it soon be time for a NYT history rewrite in which Ukraine is presented as a long-established haven for the 2SLGBTQQIA+ community?
Circling back to the original topic… the most powerful political entities in Florida seem to be counties. They collect the lion’s share of property taxes, leaving the sales tax scraps for the state. Counties run the schools and parks that residents are passionate about. I wonder if the Florida legislature and governor are actually staging some of the stuff that they do simply to see how much they can wind up people in California, Washington, D.C., and New York.