New research on LGBTQ parents in Florida found that a majority of those surveyed considered leaving the state over its controversial law restricting classroom instruction on LGBTQ issues before the fourth grade.
Nearly six out of 10 parents surveyed by the Williams Institute said that the enacting of the legislation commonly known as “Don’t Say Gay” led them to consider moving to a different state — while 17% have already taken steps to do so.
The research — released Tuesday by The Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, a think tank that focuses on LGBTQ law and policy — also found that 11% of surveyed parents considered moving their child to a different school.
Analyzing data from 113 LGBTQ parents in the state, researchers found that nearly nine out of ten of them said that they were concerned about the effects of the legislation on their families and children.
They expressed concerns that the law would restrict them from speaking freely about their families, and as a result, it would affect their children’s sense of self and sense of safety and also create a hostile school climate.
“Legislation can have a negative impact on LGBTQ+ parent families by cultivating a climate of fear and insecurity,” said study author Abbie E. Goldberg, a professor of psychology at Clark University.
“For LGBTQ+ parents without the means to move or send their children to private schools, the stress that this legislation creates will be significant,” Goldberg added.
Surveyed parents reported that their children had already experienced a variety of consequences from the bill — including bullying and harassment because of their parents’ LGBTQ identities, fears about continuing to live in the state, and no longer having the ability to talk about their parents’ or their own LGBTQ identity at school.
“The Don’t Say Gay bill claims to be for parent rights, but my rights have been taken away since its passage,” one parent said. “My right to send my daughter to school freely, my right to live without fear of who I am, my right to not be discriminated against based on my sexual orientation, and my daughter to not be discriminated against based on her parents’ sexual orientation.”
Slammed by critics as “hateful,” “homophobic” and “transphobic,” HB 1557 was signed into law nearly a year ago by the state’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.
The much-publicized enacting of the legislation — a victory for conservatives in the state — sparked a dramatic increase in anti-LGBTQ vitriol on social media, as well as in-person protests against LGBTQ youth events in the state.