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Impact of 2SLGTBQ+ Legislation in United States

On March 28th, Florida’s Governor signed legislation called the “Don’t Say Gay Bill” that takes effect July 1, 2022. This legislation will make it more difficult for educators to speak to students about 2SLGBTQ+ issues, identities, sexual orientation or gender expression. Educators will only be allowed to teach information that is deemed age or developmentally appropriate by the state. This legislation would mean if a child speaks to an educator about their identity, that information can be disclosed to the child’s parents. Although the legislation does not forbid use of the word ‘gay,’ parents are given the right to sue the school board if the law is violated. This creates an environment in which issues pertaining to gender identity and sexual orientation, for all students, cannot be openly or safely discussed. Students wanting to discuss, or learn about gender and sexual orientation, cannot do so without consequences. In addition, this could result in negative ramifications for educators who do not follow the legislation. This legislation is yet another attack on the 2SLGBTQ+ community.

In February 2022, the Governor of Texas implemented an order that any gender-affirming parenting for trans children and youth is considered child abuse and is to be reported to the authorities. In addition, child welfare agencies are to investigate reports of children receiving gender-affirming care as possible child abuse.

Although these laws are being implemented in the United States, there is an impact on our culture and the 2SLGBTQ+ community in Canada. The Halton Children’s Aid Society (Halton CAS) condemns any attempt to stifle educators’ ability to speak about 2SLGBTQ+ issues, identities, sexual orientation or gender expression. Halton CAS dedicates itself to advocating against any similar legislation in Ontario or Canada.

Halton CAS remains committed to improving our knowledge and understanding of 2SLGBTQ+ issues and continuing to dismantle barriers for our staff, volunteers, resource providers and service recipients. We acknowledge these legislative changes in the U.S. can be triggering and/or cause trauma to members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community. We encourage you to reach out for support.