Hello to everyone except for Florida, a state that never tires of finding new ways to ostracize LGBTQ+ students, teachers, and other Floridians.
October is National LGBTQ+ History Month. Except in Miami-Dade County schools where the school board voted 8-1 to reject “a measure recognizing October as [LGBTQ+] History Month and teaching 12th graders about two landmark Supreme Court cases impacting the LGBTQ communities,” according to the Miami Herald.
The Supreme Court cases in question are 2015’s Obergefell v. Hodges, which recognized marriage equality, and 2020’s Bostock v. Clayton County, which found that your boss can’t fire you for being gay or trans.
That was apparently the deal breaker as the Miami Herald reported, “Last year the board voted 7-1 to to recognize October as LGBTQ month, but last year’s measure did not include the provision to add two Supreme Court cases to the 12th grade coursework.”
Heaven forbids that we teach children that LGBTQ+ people can feel love, form relationships, and work jobs.
A lot of people showed up for the board meeting including “a contingent of Proud Boys who got in a loud argument with a person hoisting a trans flag outside of the School Board headquarters,” according to the Herald.
Cool, cool. Totally normal stuff. Terrorists be terrorizing.
Keep in mind the protestors were not upset about white supremacist terrorists just casually harassing people. They were more upset about the idea that Miami-Dade schools be a welcoming place for LGBTQ+ people.
“Those who opposed the measure said that it went against their religious beliefs and that the board was abiding in the indoctrination and sexual abuse of children,” the Herald reported. Which is, of course, utter bullshit.
There is no religion that has “thou shall not learn about gay people” as a foundational tenant. It is not against your religious freedom, nor is it sexual abuse, to have to treat a trans kid like a human or have your child learn that the Supreme Court has heard cases involving LGBTQ+ rights.
And this whole indoctrination claim is wild. If a kid in school learns that the first woman in space was a lesbian named Sally Ride, then that student has been indoctrinated… to what, exactly? To hear LGBTQ+ opponents tell it, every kid who has ever learned about Sally Ride is now lesbian and/or trans. Who knew it was so easy for teachers to indoctrinate!
Then again, if indoctrinating students is so easy, why don’t teachers indoctrinate them to write their names on their papers? Study? To come to class on time? And bring a pencil? You’d think that if teachers can wave a rainbow wand and turn their students queer, they should be able to make Aiden B. Middle Schooler turn in his geometry homework.
When I was in school, there were no gay people. I didn’t know any, I didn’t know that any even existed. In high school, there were two gay boys whose lives were made miserable and, as far as I could tell, were offered no help from teachers or administration.
There was also a lesbian teacher, but I didn’t know she was a lesbian. Students would say things like, “She was in her car at the mall having sex with her girlfriend” and stupid shit like that. Like she wasn’t a grown ass woman with a home.
Now that I think of it, there was a gay teacher when I was in middle school, too. Again, not out. Kids made fun of him all the time. It wasn’t until I was an adult that he popped up as a friend of a friend on Facebook and I saw his profile picture had a rainbow frame.
So yeah, growing up, I learned that being gay was a bad thing that would ruin your life and so you should never tell anyone — even when you’re an adult. If anything, I was being indoctrinated to be straight. And I tried (sorry, Tom). But that’s just not who I am.
It’s hard for parents to accept that their kids might not believe all the same things they believe. Especially if those parents hold hateful views of LGBTQ+ people.
The people protesting in Miami-Dade were protesting the fact that they live in a changing world, and it terrifies them. But instead of being adults about it, they’re making damn sure that the world around LGBTQ+ kids is terrifying, too.
No matter where you live, your school board elections matter. When people who don’t hate LGBTQ+ kids get elected, that goes a long way to helping those kids grow up not hating themselves, just being themselves.
D’Anne Witkowski is a writer living in Michigan with her wife and son. She has been writing about LGBTQ+ politics for nearly two decades. Follow her on Twitter @MamaDWitkowski.