Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis pushed back against a reporter after confronting him on the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill at a Friday press conference.
A reporter questioned the governor on legislation intended to ban classroom discussion of sexual orientation and gender ideology in kindergarten through third grade. The bill, which passed the Florida House on Feb. 24, has been labeled the “Don’t Say Gay” bill both by opponents and news outlets who have claimed it targets LGBTQ students.
“I’m just curious, you call it that, I’ve not seen that in any of these bills. Where is that coming from?” DeSantis asked the reporter. “The question is — you’re in the news business — does the truth matter or not? Is that in any of the bills, yes or no? I understand what you’re doing.”
The governor said the media has gotten “spun up” and incorrectly interpreted the legislation. He then argued the opposition needs to be “honest” about what is actually in the bill rather than following false political narratives.
“You have a responsibility to be honest about it,” he continued. “Yeah, you can create a false narrative, you can stage a protest, you can do all those things. But you’re not telling the truth about what’s actually there. … There’s this massive gulf between what [the bill] actually says with respect to these very young kids versus what some of these protests at the capitol are about.”
DeSantis said the legislature is justifiably blocking the teaching of gender identity to young children, arguing it is “inappropriate” to teach those matters to a kindergarten class. He argued the legislation offers parents “assurance” that their children are protected from learning about issues that are not “age appropriate.” (RELATED: Florida House Committee Passes Bill Banning Gender Ideology Discussion In Schools)
The bill awaits passage from DeSantis, who has hinted at supporting the legislation. If passed, it would require school districts to notify parents of any healthcare treatment, screenings and well-being questionnaires performed by the school.
It was crafted after reports surfaced about a 12-year-old girl attempting suicide after her school attempted to transition her to male without her parents’ knowledge or consent.