The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Tag: don t say gay law

Wave Of ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bills Sweeping Across Red States

Republicans never let a terrible idea go to waste. If one Republican-controlled state passes a harmful law that will do violence to vulnerable people, it’s a virtual certainty that several other Republican-controlled states will follow suit. That’s how it’s been with the Texas abortion bounty hunter law, and it’s how it’s shaping up with Florida’s notorious “Don’t Say Gay” law.

Ohio and Louisiana Republicans are already considering their own versions of the Florida legislation, which prohibits teachers from talking about gender identity or sexual orientation to students in kindergarten through third grade, and limits how those subjects can be discussed with older students. In Texas, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick says he’ll make a similar bill a priority when the state legislature starts its next session in January. If he’s going to jump on board with every oppressive bill introduced in any state between now and January, the Texas legislature is going to have a lot to get done.

The thinking behind such bills “is that parents will be allowed to decide when they want their children to learn about LGBTQ+ issues instead of having the school talk about them at an age that may be too early or confusing,” Marissa Higgins explained about the Florida bill. “Mind you, there are undoubtedly LGBTQ+ children (and teachers, custodians, principals, parents, and so on) in every school in Florida right now. They might not be ‘out,’ they might not have the language yet, but they’re there. The only thing that comes from not talking about LGBTQ+ identity is that people lack knowledge, and down the road, may live with internalized queerphobia and feelings of confusion and self-hate. It doesn’t stop anyone from being queer to simply be silent about it.”

But silence—and the knowledge that you are seen as unacceptable or dirty that comes with enforced silence—is enough for Republicans.

A viral social media post exposed some gaps in the logic of the Florida law, enraging right-wing groups in the process:

Dear Florida parent/caretaker:
The Florida house of Representatives has recently ruled 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.”
To be in accordance with this policy, I will no longer be referring to your student with gendered pronouns. All students will be referred to as “The” or “them.” I will no longer use a gendered title such as “Mr.” or “Mrs.” or make any references to my husband/wife in the classroom. From now on I will be using the non-gendered title “Mx.”
Furthermore, I will be removing all books or instruction which refer to a person being a “mother,” “Father,” “husband” or “wife” as these are gender identities that also may allude to sexual orientation. Needless to say, all books which refer to a character as “he” or “She” will also be removed from the classroom. If you have any concerns about this policy, please feel free to contact your local congressperson.
Thank you, Mx. XXXXXXXXXX

“Man” and “woman” are gender identities, guys. Heterosexuality is a sexual orientation. Florida Republicans—perhaps soon to be followed by Ohio and Louisiana ones—technically did ban those identifications as well. Because it wouldn’t occur to Republicans that what they think of as normal and right could fall under the category of “gender identity” or “sexual orientation.” They expect that everyone will know what they mean and fall in line because the very vagueness and broadness of the law is itself a threat.

Relatedly, the Ohio bill also contains familiar bans on teaching about race and racism, or, as it calls them, “divisive or inherently racist concepts.” Again, by being extremely vague and broad, it may limit speech even more than carefully written, highly specific language would do.

”I think it's probably by design, that they just want to instill fear, that if you wonder if something may or may not be considered controversial or considered divisive or considered illegal under this legislation, the safest bet is to just not talk about it at all. And that's the real harm that's caused because that deprives our students of a complete and honest education,” Ohio Education Association President Scott DiMauro told CNN.

That harm comes whether the concepts being banned are “trans people exist” or “racism exists.” And Republicans are dedicated to harming as many kids as possible.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Randy Rainbow Has A Very Brief Word For DeSantis

Randy Rainbow has a message for Ron DeSantis that could upset the trying-to-be-trumpier-than-Trump governor's fragile sensibilities. Another brilliant -- and may we say beautifully sung -- video from America's favorite satirist. He gives the Florida Governor all the respect he deserves. DeSantis' attempts to exploit homophobic bigotry and fear are certainly not going unanswered.

As Randy says, "Let's bask in the splendors of all shades and genders!"

Watch 👇🏼 and enjoy.


Teacher’s Satirical Note On 'Don’t Say Gay' Enrages Right-Wing Outfit


The American conservative “advocates for parental rights in schools,” known as Moms for Liberty, have been busy working on making sure your children are protected from things like critical race theory (CRT), and any talk about gender identities (and LGBTQ+ stuff). Florida’s transphobic and homophobic and childhood-phobic conservatives scored a big legislative victory in March when state legislators were able to pass the “Don’t Say Gay” bill through into law. Its official name is the “Parental Rights in Education” bill and while it technically never mentions the word “gay,” the bill is a pretty obvious overreach into the rights of entire swathes of the American public. As such, lawsuits are already being filed against the Sunshine state.

Moms for Liberty’s Twitter account posted what they are calling a letter template for rebellious teachers to send home in regard to the new legal guidelines they are now forced to deal with as a result of the general pig-headed phobias of people like Moms for Liberty. Writing “A teacher in Palm Beach County, FL shared this template with us. It is being shared among teachers to use for grades K-3. How do you feel about this? What will you do when this arrives home in your child’s backpack? Time to take a Stand,” the letter is a little slice of genius, and the responses to this conservative freakout have been [takes a meditative breath] beautiful.

The letter serves to point out how, in its vague language, the bill’s authors have attempted to veil their bigotries and fears under the guise of parental rights. It does this by using the law’s truly banal purposes against the very parents who are pretending that this law isn’t very specifically about being homophobic and transphobic and queerphobic.

First the letter:

Dear Florida parent/caretaker:
The Florida house of Representatives has recently ruled 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.”

To be in accordance with this policy, I will no longer be referring to your student with gendered pronouns. All students will be referred to as “The” or “them.” I will no longer use a gendered title such as “Mr.” or “Mrs.” or make any references to my husband/wife in the classroom. From now on I will be using the non-gendered title “Mx.”

Furthermore, I will be removing all books or instruction which refer to a person being a “mother,” “Father,” “husband” or “wife” as these are gender identities that also may allude to sexual orientation. Needless to say, all books which refer to a character as “he” or “She” will also be removed from the classroom. If you have any concerns about this policy, please feel free to contact your local congressperson.Thank you, Mx. XXXXXXXXXX

Whether this is a real “template” being handed out to teachers who see the don’t say gay bill for what it really is or if this is just one of those great memes that has truly pressed these “Moms for Liberty’s” buttons does not matter. Bridget Ziegler, co-founder of Moms for Liberty, Fox News talking face, and precinct committeewoman for the Republican Party of Sarasota County retweeted the letter, writing, “Once again, it’s unfortunate our students and their education are being hijacked by the Left’s culture wars. Thank goodness more educators, many whom are parents of young children, are speaking up and pushing back!”

The responses have been wonderful:



And here’s a new one to me—but maybe it’s been around for a while.



Danziger Draws

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons, a novel, and a memoir. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.