Johnson calls the bill the “Stop the Sexualization of Children Act” and went on a Twitter tirade explaining it, starting with the disgusting accusation that “The Democrat [sic] Party and their cultural allies are on a crusade to immerse young children in sexual imagery and radical gender ideology at school and in public.”
Johnson then highlights examples of various curricula he takes issue with and cases where “sexually-oriented events” such as drag queen story hours for children were paid for with federal money, and used to “expose children under 10 years of age to sexually explicit material.”
The bill also gives parents and legal guardians the right to “bring a civil action” in federal court if their child is exposed to any outlawed federally funded content “in whole or in part.”
Of course, U.S. kids are not being sexualized, as Johnson and other Republicans claim. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. The Advocate reports that most students in the nation aren't exposed to or taught about LGBTQ+ issues in school at any point.
A 2021 GLSEN study found that “the majority of students reported that their classes did not teach positive representations of LGBTQ+ history, people, or events, and did not include positive representations of LGBTQ+ topics in sex education.”
“Furthermore, regarding curricular resources, most students did not have access to LGBTQ+-inclusive materials and resources, including LGBTQ+-related textbooks or other assigned readings, LGBTQ+-inclusive content in the curriculum, and LGBTQ+-related library resources.”
Harvard Cyber Law Clinic instructor Alejandra Caraballo wrote on Twitter that the pretext of the bill is crystal clear:
“I can’t overstate how radical the private right of action portion is. The bill is so broadly defined that a pediatric hospital could be sued for having a pride flag or a medical pamphlet about gender dysphoria. It deputizes anti-LGBTQ bigots to engage in bounty lawsuits.”
Universities, public schools, hospitals, medical clinics, etc. could all be defunded if they host any event discussing LGBTQ people and children could be present. The way they define "sexually oriented material" simply includes anything about LGBTQ people.
Activist and content creator Erin Reed explained on Twitter that the bill actually goes much further than DeSantis’ bill.
She posits that it would ban “any exposure to transgenderism to children under the age of 10.”
“This would fire all trans teachers, Trans workers in hospitals that serve children, counselors, social workers. It defines being trans as ‘sexual.’”
Republicans have not been meek about sharing their intent to pass such laws, either. At current count, at least 12 states have explored legislation that could mimic Florida's law.
Arjee Restar, assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Washington, told NPR, “The institutionalization of these bills is an overt form of structural transphobia and homophobia, and it goes against all public health evidence in creating a safe and supportive environment for transgender, nonbinary, queer, gay and lesbian youths and teachers to thrive."
With Democrats in control of the White House and the Senate, the bill would likely never get passed. But the midterms are quickly approaching, with early voting already underway in several states. If you didn’t understand before what was at stake in this election, the Republicans have shown you their hand: trans rights, reproductive rights, affordable health care, the right to marry who you love, and workplace protections are all on the table.
Abortion rights, climate change, and gun safety are all on the ballot this fall, and there are literally thousands of ways to get involved in turning our voters. Plug into a federal, state, or local campaign from our GOTV feed at Mobilize and help Democrats and progressives win in November.
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On Daily Kos’ The Brief, we speak with polling giant Drew Linzer, who runs polling firm CIVIQs and comes in to talk about a new poll his team conducted for Daily Kos. He is also here to explain, as a professional, how to not stress out every time you see a poll going your way or the other way. One thing is for sure, though: We are living in historic times, and what that means for these midterms cannot be easily predicted—so Get Out The Vote!
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