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Florida Governor Signs ‘Don’t Say Gay/Trans’ Bill Into Law

BY: Kinzi Sparks
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LGBTQ youth who learned about LGBTQ issues or people in classes at school had 23% lower odds of reporting a suicide attempt in the past year.

March 28, 2022 — The Trevor Project, the world’s largest suicide prevention and mental health organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people, condemned the signing of HB 1557, also known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, into law by the governor of Florida. This bill bans classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in schools, effectively erasing LGBTQ identity, history, and culture — as well as LGBTQ students themselves. The bill also has provisions that appear to undermine LGBTQ support in schools and include vague parental notification requirements, which could effectively require teachers to “out” LGBTQ students to their legal guardians without their consent, regardless of whether they are supportive.

“LGBTQ youth in Florida deserve better. They deserve to see their history, their families, and themselves reflected in the classroom,” said Amit Paley, CEO & Executive Director of The Trevor Project. “While I am saddened to see this harmful bill signed into law, I am inspired by the outpouring of support for LGBTQ students we have seen from parents, teachers, celebrities, and their peers. Social support is vital for suicide prevention, and I want to remind LGBTQ youth in Florida and across the country that you are not alone.”

According to The Trevor Project’s 2021 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, 42% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, including more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth. However, LGBTQ youth who had access to spaces that affirmed their sexual orientation and gender identity — including schools — reported lower rates of attempting suicide than those who did not. 

The Trevor Project’s research has found that the inclusion of positive content about LGBTQ people and issues in classroom curriculums can benefit the mental health and well-being of LGBTQ students. LGBTQ youth who learned about LGBTQ issues or people in classes at school had 23% lower odds of reporting a suicide attempt in the past year. 

The majority of LGBTQ youth (52%), including 61% of transgender and nonbinary youth, who were enrolled in middle or high school reported being bullied either in person or electronically in the past year. LGBTQ students who were bullied had three times greater odds of attempting suicide in the past year compared to those who were not bullied.

A recent poll conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of The Trevor Project found that 85% of transgender and nonbinary youth—and two-thirds of all LGBTQ youth (66%) — say recent debates about state laws restricting the rights of transgender people have negatively impacted their mental health. When asked about proposed legislation that would require schools to tell a student’s parent or guardian if they request to use a different name/pronoun or if they identify as LGBTQ at school, 56% of transgender and nonbinary youth said it made them feel angry, 47% felt nervous and/or scared, 45% felt stressed, and more than 1 in 3 felt sad.

If you or someone you know needs help or support, The Trevor Project’s trained crisis counselors are available 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386, via chat at TheTrevorProject.org/Get-Help, or by texting START to 678678. 

About The Trevor Project

The Trevor Project is the world’s largest suicide prevention and mental health organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people. The Trevor Project offers a suite of 24/7 crisis intervention and suicide prevention programs, including TrevorLifeline, TrevorText, and TrevorChat as well as the world’s largest safe space social networking site for LGBTQ youth, TrevorSpace. Trevor also operates an education program with resources for youth-serving adults and organizations, an advocacy department fighting for pro-LGBTQ legislation and against anti-LGBTQ rhetoric/policy positions, and a research team to discover the most effective means to help young LGBTQ people in crisis and end suicide.

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