Underpinning Florida’s 2022 “Don’t Say Gay or Trans” law is the same vintage, discriminatory rhetoric that has been invoked to harm LGBTQ+ people for decades: that LGBTQ+ people are deviant and fundamentally sexual, therefore even the most chaste acknowledgement of the existence of LGBTQ+ people is inherently inappropriate for children. LGBTQ+ students, students with LGBTQ+ family members, and LGBTQ+ school employees are protected by the constitution, including the First and Fourteenth amendments as well as federal civil rights law. Whether censorship of LGBTQ+ identities is effectuated directly, as in Florida, or indirectly through opt-outs, the dignitary harm is done. Curriculum censorship laws give veto power to the parent in the classroom most likely to object and harms the ability of all students to meet their academic goals— goals which often include the ability to navigate respectfully across difference in a civil society. Conflating the existence of LGBTQ+ people with inherently mature themes is animus and the government may not write that animus into law.

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