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‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill Inserts “Heavy Hand” of Lawmakers Into Classroom Lessons

Bill Sends Disturbing Message to Young People That Some Voices Should be Silenced, Some People Erased


PEN America issued the following statement upon passage of Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, from CEO Suzanne Nossel:

“Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill amounts to a government diktat policing the speech of students and teachers in violation of the First Amendment.   This censorious legislation inserts the heavy hand of legislators into the schoolroom, adjudicating what stories can be told, what subjects discussed and what families acknowledged.  It sends a disturbing message to young people that some voices should be silenced, some people erased. It is a frontal attack on the rights of children and educators to express themselves openly and without fear of discrimination.   It will chill speech, and make Florida classrooms a no-go zone for the freewheeling conversations that are essential to educating a democratic citizenry.  This legislation doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It forms part of a wave of intrusive bills and laws that forcibly insert politics and ideology into realms that belong in the hands of educators, parents and children.   Educators are experts at how to tailor complex subjects in age-appropriate ways, and students have every right to see a breadth of voices and identities–including those that may reflect or be different from their own–in what they learn and read.”

PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible. pen.org

CONTACT: Suzanne Trimel, communications and media consultant, STrimel@PEN.org


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