Organizers hold ‘Okay to Say Gay’ rally in St. Pete

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – Any day now, Gov. Ron DeSantis could sign the Parents’ Rights in Education Bill, also known to opponents as the “Don’t Tell” Bill. gay”. Protesters in the St. Petersburg area wanted to send a clear message to lawmakers on Saturday that they are not backing down.

“We’re asking people who are participating today to come out and vote, ask their friends to vote, participate in text campaigns, and hold accountable the people who passed this bill in November,” said Mike Hughes, rally organizer.

The bill passed the state Senate on Wednesday. This would ban classroom instruction and discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade.

“We’re going to make sure that parents can send their child to kindergarten without them having some of these things injected into their curriculum,” DeSantis said.

On the other hand, Hughes said the law was unnecessary and divisive.

“Currently, that’s not happening in the state of Florida. It’s not on the agenda for the first three years of school. It’s about solving a problem that doesn’t exist,” he said.

At Saturday’s rally, people shared their own experiences but also their fears about the new law.

Samuel Vanmiddlesworth told 8 On Your Side that it was already difficult to navigate the school as a student from the LGBTQ+ community.

“I was scared. I was scared for my friends. There were countless people at my school where this was supposed to be my safe space who put me down for being who I am.

The bill would take effect July 1 if signed by the governor.

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