‘Hurting gay and trans kids’: “Don’t Say Gay” bill up for discussion at tonight’s DCPS meeting

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The law dubbed by critics as “Don’t Say Gay” will be up for discussion at Tuesday night’s Duval County Public Schools meeting.

School board member Charlotte Joyce is introducing a resolution to support Governor Ron DeSantis’ controversial Parental Rights in Education law. The resolution says it aims to maximize parental involvement, while LGBTQ+ advocates worry it’ll discourage students from being openly gay or trans.

“Thanks, Governor DeSantis,” Joyce writes in the document, for what she says is his role in “defending parents’ rights” and teaching “children their values.”

The resolution voices support for the Parental Rights in Education bill, which limits when and how teachers and school staff can discuss gender and sexual orientation with students.

“There is no circumstance that I could support a resolution that thanks the governor for hurting gay and trans kids,” said Jimmy Midyette, the Co-Founder of the Jacksonville Coalition for Equality. He is organizing for several members to show up at Tuesday night’s school board meeting.

“What you’ll hear is a lot of folks from the community just coming out to be supportive of LGBTQ+ students. The resolution disapproves of an LGBTQ+ guide telling employees it’s “never appropriate to divulge the sexual orientation of a student to a parent.”

Midyette says making it ok to divulge could silence students, and discourage faculty members from sponsoring Gender and Sexuality Alliance Clubs that meet after school. “Resolutions like this, and even the political environment around it, is telling young people, ‘Hey, be quiet. Don’t be open.’ And it’s not fair to push students back into the closet whenever they have already come out and they’re proud,” he said.

Action News Jax reached out to Joyce for comment Monday morning but did not hear back. Joyce is running unopposed for re-election in August. She is running to represent District 6, which covers 21 schools across Jacksonville’s westside.

Tuesday night’s school board starts at 6 p.m.

You can read the full resolution below.