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The Trevor Project Condemns Expansion of “Don’t Say Gay/Trans” Law up to 12th Grade Passed by Florida Senate

BY: Trevor News
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New national survey found 2 in 3 LGBTQ young people said hearing about laws banning people from discussing LGBTQ people at school made their mental health ‘a lot worse.’

May, 3, 2023 — The Trevor Project, the leading suicide prevention organization for LGBTQ young people, condemned the passage of HB 1069, an extension of Florida’s pre-existing “Don’t Say Gay/Trans” law, by the Florida Senate. If enacted, this bill would ban classroom instruction on LGBTQ topics in schools, effectively erasing LGBTQ history and culture from curriculums, and includes provisions to allow the misgendering of transgender and nonbinary students and school staff. The bill now heads to the governor’s desk.

“LGBTQ young people deserve to have their history, culture, and identities included in the lessons they learn at school. This legislation, while intentionally vaguely worded in some instances, ultimately expands the pre-existing ‘Don’t Say Gay/Trans’ law in the state up to 12th grade in an effort to erase LGBTQ young people entirely from Florida’s classrooms,” said Gabby Doyle (she/her), Advocacy Campaign Manager at The Trevor Project. “LGBTQ young people are more likely to report attempting suicide compared to their peers – not because they are prone to suicide risk, but rather, because of how they are mistreated in society. However, research has consistently shown that LGBTQ young people report lower rates of attempting suicide when they have access to affirming school spaces, and learning about LGBTQ topics at school has also been associated with lower odds of suicide risk among LGBTQ students. The Trevor Project stands firmly in support of Florida’s LGBTQ young people, and we will continue working with advocates and partners on the ground to push back against dangerous bills like this one.”

Research & Polling:

  • According to The Trevor Project’s 2023 U.S. National Survey on the Mental Health of LGBTQ Young People:
    • Nearly 1 in 3 LGBTQ young people said their mental health was poor most of the time or always due to anti-LGBTQ policies and legislation.
    • Nearly 2 in 3 LGBTQ young people said that hearing about potential state or local laws banning people from discussing LGBTQ people at school made their mental health a lot worse.
    • While only 38% of LGBTQ young people found their home to be LGBTQ-affirming, 54% found their school to be affirming
    • Many LGBTQ young people enrolled in school reported having a range of negative experiences, including being verbally harassed because people thought they were LGBTQ (53%); not being allowed to dress in the way that fits their gender identity or expression (32%); being disciplined for fighting back against bullies (25%); and experiencing unwanted sexual contact because people thought they were LGBTQ (20%).
    • Only 37% of transgender and nonbinary young people reported having a gender-neutral bathroom at their school, and those who had access reported lower rates (15%) of attempting suicide in the past year compared to those who did not (21%). 
  • Additional previous research has found:
    • Trans and nonbinary students who have support from their teachers and peers — report lower rates of attempting suicide. 
    • Learning about LGBTQ people or issues has been associated with significantly lower odds (23%) of a past-year suicide attempt in LGBTQ students. 
    • Transgender and nonbinary youth who reported having pronouns respected by all or most people in their lives attempted suicide at half the rate of those who did not have their pronouns respected.

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.

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