Chasten Buttigieg Denounces Proposed Ban on LGBTQ Discussions in Fla. Schools: 'This Will Kill Kids'

·2 min read
Chasten Buttigieg
Chasten Buttigieg

Carina Teoh Chasten Buttigieg

Chasten Buttigieg is criticizing proposed legislation in Florida that would ban discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in local classrooms.

The Parental Rights in Education bill, which has been labeled by its critics as the "Don't Say Gay" bill even as its advocates insist it's about keeping teachers out of students' home lives, passed the Florida House Education and Employment Committee last week.

The proposal includes a provision that also prohibits schools from "adopting procedures or student support forms that require school district personnel to withhold from a parent specified information."

Critics worry the language could force educators and administrators to "out" students who might be afraid of disclosing their sexuality or gender identity at home.

The rules and regulations around what teachers can and should bring up in the classroom have become increasingly politicized in recent months, with some conservative lawmakers responding with legislation like that in Florida.

"This will kill kids," Buttigieg, 32, said on Twitter of the proposed bill.

The writer and former middle school teacher is married to transportation secretary and former presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, 40.

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In his tweet, Chasten tagged Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. "You are purposefully making your state a harder place for LGBTQ kids to survive in," he wrote.

He also cited a Trevor Project survey which found that 42% of LGBTQ youth in the U.S. considered attempting suicide in 2021.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg, right, and his husband Chasten Buttigieg acknowledge the audience at the end of a campaign event, in Milford, N.H Election 2020 Pete Buttigieg, Milford, USA - 10 Feb 2020
Mayor Pete Buttigieg, right, and his husband Chasten Buttigieg acknowledge the audience at the end of a campaign event, in Milford, N.H Election 2020 Pete Buttigieg, Milford, USA - 10 Feb 2020

Matt Rourke/AP/Shutterstock Chasten (left) and Pete Buttigieg

"Now they can't talk to their teachers?" Chasten asked in his tweet.

Florida state Rep. Joe Harding, a Republican who first introduced the legislation, recently spoke about the bill. "What we don't want is the school district trying to take on the role of being the parent, because they're not," he argued.

A companion bill was introduced in the state Senate.

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The Trevor Project, an organization dedicated to suicide prevention for LGBTQ young people, said the bills would have the effect of "erasing LGBTQ identity, history, and culture — as well as LGBTQ students themselves."

Sam Ames, the group's director of advocacy and government affairs, said the bills could force many LGBTQ students "back into the closet."

Additional research by the Trevor Project found that "LGBTQ youth in affirming schools had nearly 40 percent lower odds of attempting suicide compared to LGBTQ youth in non-affirming schools."

"LGBTQ students deserve their history and experiences to be reflected in their education," Ames said, "just like their peers."