Home / LGBTQ+ advocates and allies protesting ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill in Naples

LGBTQ+ advocates and allies protesting ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill in Naples

Reporter: Lauren Leslie Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:

Members of the LGBTQ+ community and their allies are protesting the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill on Friday. Naples Pride says the bill targets the LGBTQ+ community.

The ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill forbids schools from encouraging students to discuss LGBTQ + issues and gender identity.

At Cambier Park in Naples, it is quiet so far.

Naples Pride planned on delivering a petition to Sen. Kathleen Passidomo’s office ahead of the march. That petition had more than 300 signatures.

The message to Passidomo from the LGBTQ+ community is to vote no.

On Thursday, the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill advanced out of a House Judiciary Committee by a  vote of 13-7.

During the House Judiciary debate, the members had to be reminded of decorum.

Supporters of House Bill 1557 say that sexual orientation and gender identity are conversations to be held at home.

But, those in opposition to the bill say not all LGBTQ+ students are supported at home.

Jordan Lytle is a student. “Don’t pass these bills, don’t pass homophobic bills, don’t silence gay people’s lives, LGBT lives,” Lytle said.

Jordan is a daughter, a student and a friend. And she says for some kids, coming out to their parents could put them in danger. “There are a lot of kids at my school who just can’t come out to their parents about it,” she said.

She’s talking about not only how she feels and who she is attracted to but how other kids may identify, as well. “It will affect kids like me kids younger than me kids older than me, and I don’t want that to happen,” Jordan said.

Callhan Soldavini was also out protesting on Friday. “We’re just here to make sure that children have a safe space and an inclusive environment,” said Soldavini.

The bill intended to limit the conversations around LGBTQ+ issues and gender identity for kindergarten through third-grade students.

LGBTQ+ advocates are worried that the vague language leaves the door open to adding middle and high school students to the list, often when young people discover who they are and what their identities mean to them.

While Lytle may have her mom’s support, not all LGBTQ+ youth do.

That is why advocates are fired up and sounding off and marching by the dozens in hopes that lawmakers will listen to them.

Jessica Fike is an LGBTQ+ advocate. “It’s going to create a lot of kids who don’t want to express themselves, which can lead to depression and suicide,” said Fike.

WINK News reached out to Sen. Passidomo via text and phone call for comment over the past two days, but we have not yet heard back.

The term “age-appropriate” is what is truly being questioned in regards to HB 1557. The bill’s author says parents should determine what is age-appropriate for their children.