Homosexuality gets oversexualized

By Karissa Gaughan – 1851 Contributor

Illustration by Felipe Bida

On March 28, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed the Parental Rights in Education Legislation effective in kindergarten to third grade classrooms. The legislation aims to ban discussion of gender and sexuality for students in kindergarten through third grade. The bill-coined the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, is supported by Florida legislators who are in support of “parental rights.”

What parents want is more say over the education their kids receive, however, it shelters students from valid thoughts and feelings. The “Don’t Say Gay” bill seeks to maximize the involvement of parents in schools while minimizing the progress educational institutions have made in creating a welcoming environment for students. 

If we censor kindergarten through third graders from sexual orientation, should straight teachers be allowed to talk about their relationships either? If this bill was trying to censor general sexual orientation, then no teacher would be able to discuss their marriage or show content in class containing heterosexual relationships. 

 If your problem is with a male teacher having a picture of him and his husband on his desk, you should rethink your fears. This is a prime example of how homosexuality gets oversexualized. If the goal is to not expose children to sexually explicit content, then having a photo on your desk of your significant other should not be a concern.

Many school walkouts have been organized by students in protest of the state’s new bills. Kids are at school seven to eight hours, five days of the week; it should be a safe place for them to learn healthy self-expression.

Roberto L. Abreu, Assistant Professor in the department of psychology at the University of Florida has publicly said these laws don’t protect anyone despite legislator rhetoric. Teaching queerness does not promote it, it creates a safer environment for people to be their authentic selves, whether students are identifying as queer or not. 

Legislators, in turn, call it the “Anti-grooming” bill. Joseph Uscinski, a researcher of extreme ideologies at the University of Miami said, “if you want to go after somebody and make them the worst person possible — make them look like they are evil incarnate — then ‘you’re soft on child molesting’ is a great way to go.”  Homosexuality is not predatory. The acknowledgment of something doesn’t promote it, it’s just not hiding its existence.

When considering all the facts, students should be the ones with the power to decide what resonates with them. The immediate sexualization of the queer community needs to stop.

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