*The following article contains discussion of suicide/self-harm.
Star Wars actor Mark Hamill mocked right-wing commentator Ben Shapiro for claiming Hamill is trying to "indoctrinate" children after Hamill posted a tweet consisting of a rainbow emoji and the word “gay” 69 times.
Shapiro claimed Hamill was attempting to indoctrinate "small children into gender and sexual ideology."
It prompted Hamill to respond he loves "mind-reading acts."
Hamill then offered Shapiro a guessing game of his own.
Hamill's initial tweet was a direct response to the news that Florida's “Don’t Say Gay” bill would soon head to the desk of Governor Ron DeSantis, a Republican, for his signature.
Florida’s Republican-sponsored Parental Rights in Education bill, or H.B. 1557, was recently passed by both the state's House of Representatives and Senate. The bill, colloquially known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, aims to “reinforce the fundamental right of parents to make decisions regarding the upbringing and control of their children in a specified manner.”
The bill wants to prohibit “a school district from encouraging classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels or in a specified manner” and authorizes parents to “bring an action against a school district to obtain a declaratory judgment that a school district procedure or practice violates certain provisions of law.”
Many have praised Hamill for his response and criticized Shapiro as well as the bill's backers.
The bill's sponsor, Republican state Representative Joe Harding, previously claimed the bill is “designed to keep school districts from talking about these topics before kids are ready to process them.”
However, his justifications have only further galvanized activists.
In January, educator and activist Chasten Buttigieg, the husband of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, said the "Don't Say Gay" bill isn’t about “parental rights” at all but about discrimination and control. Buttigieg acknowledged LGBTQ+ people and their families have often been used as scapegoats throughout history and said the legislation would "push LGBTQ families away and into the closet."
Adding the bill would "kill kids," he went on to cite statistics from The Trevor Project, a nonprofit focused on suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning youth.
Buttigieg noted suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people aged 10 to 24 and that 42 percent of LGBTQ+ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, including more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth.
LGBTQ+ Youth can get help through:
- TrevorChat — 24/7/365 at https://www.thetrevorproject.org/get-help-now/#services
- TrevorLifeline — phone service available 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386
- TrevorText — Text “START” to 678678. Available 24/7/365.
- TrevorSpace — online international peer-to-peer community for LGBTQ young people and their friends at https://www.trevorspace.org/
- Trevor Support Center — LGBTQ youth & allies can find answers to FAQs and explore resources at https://www.thetrevorproject.org/resources/trevor-support-center/#sm.0000121hx9lvicotqs52mb1saenel