Florida Implements ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill


Protest in front of the Texas capitol to protect the rights of transgender children. Photo courtesy of Lauren Witte from the Texas Tribune

Dante Ortiz, Reporter

On Feb. 11, 16-year-old Brianna Ghey, a transgender youth, was found dead at Culcheth linear park in Warrington, England, at 3:13 pm. A 15-year-old male and 15-year-old female were charged with murder on Wednesday, Feb. 15, and are set to stand trial in July. The Cheshire police stated that they do not believe the incident is a hate crime but are keeping an open mind throughout the investigation. They are also considering all inquiries of the motive for the attack. 

Framed picture of Brianna Ghey on with candles
Photo of Brianna Ghey at a Dublin vigil. Photo courtesy of BBC News

Over two dozen vigils were held in Ghey’s memory across the UK; individuals held signs with the words “rest in power,” calling Trans liberation into action. Ghey had amassed a large following on TikTok, where she shared bullying she encountered at school. This post was made days before the attack took place. 

Vigil for Brianna Ghey
Vigil held in Brianna Gheys memory photo. Photo courtesy of Molly Darlington and Reuters from The New York Times

Ghey’s family made a statement describing her as “a much-loved daughter, granddaughter, and baby sister. She was a larger-than-life individual who would leave a lasting impression on all that met her. Brianna was beautiful, witty, and hilarious. Brianna was strong, fearless, and one of a kind.” 

Ghey’s murder has made headlines not only in England but also in the United States, where the LGBTQ+ community has been discussed in legislation. In 2022, Florida implemented its House Bill 1557, otherwise known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which prohibits the discussion of topics relating to gender or sexuality in Kindergarten to 3rd-grade classrooms. The bill prevents children from discussing their own and family members’ sexuality and gender identity.

Texas was considering similar elements as Florida in 2021 with Senate Bill 1646. Although the bill did not pass, it would have prohibited parents, guardians, and doctors from seeking out and providing gender-affirming treatment for children, such as surgery, puberty suppression treatment, and taking hormones by considering it child abuse, even if the treatment was lifesaving. 

The stated purpose of the bill was to prevent children from making any life-changing decisions they might regret later. However, failure to take these gender-affirming actions often leads to depression, anxiety, and heightened body dysmorphia, which puts one’s emotional state and mental health in jeopardy. Due to recent anti-trans legislation that has been considered, Texas parents have hired lawyers to protect their kids and their freedom to parent. However, if these legislations continue, there may be some parents who will move out of the state to ensure their children receive the care they need to be themselves and lead a happy life.