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Joe Biden forcefully condemns ‘hateful’ Florida ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill and vows to protect LGBT+ kids

Maggie Baska February 9, 2022
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President Joe Biden, a white man, stands at a podium while wearing a dark suit jacket, white shirt and light blue tie

President Joe Biden delivers remarks at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on 8 February 2022 in Washington, DC. (Getty/Anna Moneymaker)

President Joe Biden slammed a controversial Florida bill that would ban discussions of LGBT+ identities in classrooms.

Biden denounced HB 1557/SB 1834, dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, in a blazing post on social media where he promised to “fight” to ensure the continued “safety” of the LGBT+ community.

“I want every member of the LGBTQI+ community — especially the kids who will be impacted by this hateful bill — to know that you are loved and accepted just as you are,” Biden wrote.

“I have your back, and my administration will continue to fight for the protections and safety you deserve.”

Biden’s comment echoed a previous message on Twitter from the White House which condemned Republican lawmakers for advancing the bill.

The White House tweeted that “conservative politicians” in Florida had pushed forward a bill “designed to attack LGBTQI+ kids”.

The administration juxtaposed this against Biden, who has advocated for the LGBT+ community throughout his presidency, focusing on “keeping schools open and supporting students’ mental health”.

The “Don’t Say Gay” bill – which has been introduced by lawmakers in both the Florida House and Senate – would prevent teachers and school administrators from encouraging “discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students”.

Biden’s comments come shortly after Florida governor Ron DeSantis signalled his support for the bill.

The viciously anti-LGBT+ governor said it was “entirely inappropriate” for teachers to have conversations with students about their gender identities.

He also claimed that, in some schools, children had been told “don’t pick your gender yet”, but he also believed such instances aren’t “happening here in large numbers”.

When asked explicitly about the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, DeSantis told the Associated Press that he hasn’t “looked at any particulars of anything”.

But he alleged there have been “instances in which kids are encouraged to be doing stuff with like a gender ideology”, and he thought “parents really do need to be involved in that”.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki also came out swinging for LGBT+ rights and harshly criticised Florida lawmakers for ‘rejecting their basic values’ to push such cruel legislation.

She told reporters at a White House press briefing that “every parent” hopes that “our leaders will ensure their children’s safety, protection and freedom”. And yet, Psaki said, Florida politicians were ‘targeting and attacking’ young queer people by advancing the anti-LGBT+ bill.

Psaki said: “And today, conservative politicians in Florida rejected those basic values by advancing legislation that is designed to target and attack the kids who need the support — support the most: kids from the LGBTQI+ community who are already vulnerable to bullying — and we’ve seen that in study after study — and violence, just for being themselves and just for being who they are.”

She added that this is “not an isolated action in Florida” as Republican lawmakers across the country have been cracking down on “what students can or cannot read, what they can or cannot learn, and most troubling, who they can or cannot be”.

“This is who these kids are,” Psaki declared. “And these — these legislators are trying to make it harder for them to be who they are.”

More: Florida, joe biden

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