LGBTQ+ Advocates testify against Florida bill they’re calling ‘Don’t Say Gay 2.0′

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A Florida bill the LGBTQ+ community is calling “Don’t Say Gay 2.0″ cleared its first hurdle in the state legislature Tuesday, to the dismay of dozens of opponents who traveled to the State Capitol to testify against it.

The bill expands the Parental Rights in Education Act passed last year, extending the ban on classroom instruction related to gender identity and sexual orientation from grades K-3 to PreK-8th grade.

But it was a provision prohibiting schools from requiring teachers and students to use pronouns that don’t align with a person’s biological sex that fueled the most anger from opponents in the bill’s first committee hearing.

“I cannot learn if I’m forced to be seen as someone I am not,” said trans student Grayson Powers.

“If you guys vote yes on this you will continue to see a lot more of this,” said Devonte Ford with Equality Florida, showing his sliced wrist to lawmakers.

But supporters of the bill argued discussions about human sexuality are best had in the home.

“The sexualization and indoctrination of minors are not just wrong, it’s beyond wrong,” said David Leatherwood with Gays Against Groomers.

LGBTQ+ advocates and Democrats like Jacksonville State Representative Angie Nixon were dealt a blow when an amendment that would have allowed parents to request their children to use alternative pronouns in school failed.

“It’s not about parental rights. It’s not about kids’ rights. It’s about scoring political points,” said Nixon.

Bill sponsor Representative Adam Anderson (R-Tarpon Springs) argued nothing in the bill stops a person from using different pronouns, it just prevents compelled speech.

“Teachers are at risk of losing their job and this does protect them,” said Anderson.

The bill still has one more committee stop in the House and two more stops in the Senate before reaching the chamber floors for final votes.

[SIGN UP: Action News Jax Daily Headlines Newsletter]

Click here to download the free Action News Jax news and weather apps, click here to download the Action News Jax Now app for your smart TV and click here to stream Action News Jax live.