Chasten Buttigeig hits out at proposed Florida bill banning most school discussions of sexuality and gender identity

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Chasten Buttigeig on Tuesday morning again condemned a bill recently passed by a Florida House committee that would ban discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity in the classroom.

“What kind of state are you building where you’re basically pushing the kids back into the closet?” Buttigeig, the husband of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigeig, said in an interview on Tuesday with CNN’s John Berman.

florida Parental Rights in Education Billcolloquially known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, pass to the House Education and Employment Committee late last week, largely along party lines.

The bill, introduced by State Senator Joe Harding (right), would prevent educators in Florida from talking about LGBTQ+ topics that are not considered “age or developmentally appropriate for students.” A almost identical bill was introduced early last week in the state senate.


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Buttigeig on Tuesday doubled down on previous comments that the bill “will kill children“, referring to a Trevor project reporta suicide prevention and crisis intervention group for LGBTQ+ youth, which found that 42% of LGBTQ+ youth had seriously considered suicide at some point in the past year.

“As a kid who grew up for 18 years who was told ‘you don’t belong, something is wrong with you’, sometimes you take that trauma to heart and sadly there are a lot of kids in this country doing the worst because we tell them something about you is twisted and you don’t belong here,” Buttigeig said Tuesday.

Another one Trevor Project Poll recently found that LGBTQ+ youth who heard about LGBTQ+ people or issues at school were 23% less likely to report a suicide attempt in the past year.

Buttigeig said he feared for his life growing up as a closeted gay man in his conservative northern Michigan neighborhood, which he said was politically similar to parts of Florida.

“You were just a good Christian country boy, and that’s all you could be. There was no difference from the norm,” he said. “I grew up learning about Matthew Shepard and thought for sure that something like this could have happened to me if someone found out I was different.”

Buttigeig argued that Harding’s bill had little to do with parental rights and was instead a thinly veiled attempt to censor and erase LGBTQ+ history, culture and people.

“I don’t really think it’s about parents’ rights. The right of parents to do what? To tell LGBTQ kids they don’t belong? Pushing LGBTQ families away and into the closet? I mean, hypothetically, if we’re having a bake sale on Friday, wouldn’t my husband and I be welcome at school because we’re in a same-sex relationship? he asked.

“It will hurt families and it’s not about education or parental rights. I think it’s about using the LGBTQ community as a scapegoat, as we’ve done many times throughout history, and I just don’t agree with that,” a- he declared.


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