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The Trevor Project Condemns Passage of “Don’t Say Gay” Bill By Florida House Targeting LGBTQ Students

BY: Josh Weaver
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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.

February 24, 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 Florida House of Representatives for passing HB 1557, also known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which would ban classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in schools, 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 “out” LGBTQ-identifying students to their potentially unsupportive parents without their consent.

“Lawmakers should be supporting LGBTQ students and their families and encouraging schools to be inclusive, not pitting parents against teachers and erasing the LGBTQ community from public education,” said Amit Paley, CEO & Executive Director of The Trevor Project. “When lawmakers treat LGBTQ topics as taboo and brand our community as unfit for the classroom, it only adds to the existing stigma and discrimination, which puts LGBTQ young people at greater risk for bullying, depression, and suicide. The Trevor Project urges Florida lawmakers to stop the cruel and misguided ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill in its tracks.”

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. 

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.

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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