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Major Florida School Board Voted Not To Recognize LGBTQ History Month

A group of demonstrators hold pro-LGBTQIA signs

In case you were wondering, Florida Republicans’ mission to erase the public existence of all LGBTQIA people is still going strong.

When Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed the state’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill into law, he and the bill’s other supporters claimed its only purpose was to keep young children from learning about things like “gender identity” in schools. They said this loudly and repeatedly, but in addition to displaying a fundamental misunderstanding of what gender identity actually is, it was always clear that that was a lie. The real goal of the new law, it was obvious, was to push LGBTQ+ people into the shadows and into the closet, permanently.

The Miami-Dade County School Board took a huge step toward that goal last week when they voted not to recognize LGBTQ History Month. The Washington Post writes:

After a rowdy six-hour meeting Wednesday, the Miami-Dade School Board voted 8-1 to block a measure that affirmed the county’s commitment to ensuring the safety of all students — including those who identify as gay, lesbian, transgender or nonbinary — and recognized LGBTQ History Month as “an effective means of educating and calling to action our community to work together by fighting prejudice and discrimination.”

The resolution also would direct the schools superintendent to explore providing 12th-grade teachers with resources to educate students on the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage as well as the legal precedent for anti-discrimination laws. Teachers in lower grades would be free to reiterate “respect and support for LGBTQ students.”

It’s hard to understand how anyone could justify voting against those things on any grounds other than outright bigotry—probably because they can’t. That is literally the only explanation for this 8–1 vote.

The Miami Herald wrote in a scathing op-ed:

These elected officials showcased their anti-gay bias, acting like a right-wing political body, beholden to the ring leader in Tallahassee, Gov. Ron DeSantis, and his minion GOP lawmakers.

Cowardly, and at the same time autocratic, all but one member acted dismissively of Miami-Dade’s diverse student population, signaling that they don’t care about the concerns of all parents and the education of all children. Only those who fit the governor’s preferred political profile will be served.

A school board is supposed to be an apolitical entity, existing only to serve the best needs of students and their families. That is obviously not the case with Miami-Dade, the largest school district in Florida.

It’s also worth noting that the Post’s choice to describe the meeting as “rowdy” seems like a massive understatement. LGBTQIA advocates gathered outside as well as inside the meeting room, as did members of the white supremacist group the Proud Boys, according to the paper.

The Miami Herald’s op-ed continues:

Non-partisanship all but gone from what’s supposed to be an apolitical body, “parental rights” now mean an invitation for hate groups like the Proud Boys to park themselves outside the School Board meeting, for homophobic people to air their prejudices as valid concern and for religious fanatics to determine the curriculum and school culture for everyone else.

Nothing like the white-nationalist group that led the storming of the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to destroy democracy, intimidating parents and School Board members — and having a say in school policy.

When a school board—or any entity—is more welcoming of white supremacists than it is of LGBTQ+ people, things have gone terribly, terribly wrong.

(image: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.