Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis may have signed the state's so-called "Don't Say Gay" legislation into law, but Florida teachers aren't taking it sitting down.
A memo said to be distributed by Florida teachers for Florida teachers, has gone viral for the clever way in which it fights the law using the law's own rules.
Since the law forbids the discussion of sexuality or gender but does not specify what constitutes "discussion of sexuality or gender," the memo instructs teachers to simply apply the rules to heterosexual and cisgender people too.
It's a perfect "fight fire with fire" clapback--and it's already got far-right conservative organizations like Moms for Liberty frothing with outrage. See their tweet, along with the memo itself, below.
Attention Parents! \n\nA teacher in Palm Beach County, FL shared this template with us. It is being shared among teachers to use for grades K-3. \n\nHow do you feel about this? What will you do when this arrives home in your child\u2019s backpack? \n\nTime to take a Stand.pic.twitter.com/Zo39SrxoJc— Moms for Liberty (@Moms for Liberty) 1648833749
The "Don't Say Gay" bill, which is actually called the Parental Rights in Education bill, got its nickname because of its opaquely worded prohibition of discussion of gender and sexuality in kindergarten through third grade.
Conservatives claim the bill is to prevent grooming of children by predators. But the bill is so vague--purposefully, some say--that legal experts have warned it could potentially open even children to legal liability were they to mention their same-sex parents, for example.
The memo that has been circulating uses this unclear wording against the bill. It is a template for a letter for teachers to send home with students to their parents, notifying them of how teachers will be enforcing the new law.
The letter states teachers will be referring to all students by "they" and "them" and all teachers by "Mx." to ensure gender is not discussed in class by avoiding "gendered pronouns."
And the letter goes on to use the new law to subtly clap back at conservatives' recent wave of book bans as well. It reads:
"Furthermore, I will be removing all books or instruction which refer to 'mother,' 'father,' 'husband' or 'wife' as these are gendered identities which may allude to sexual orientation."
Conservatives have flown into an outrage over the letter, because as usual it clearly did not ever occur to them that the law would apply to them too. Which is wild considering the words "sexuality and gender" are literally in the words "heterosexuality" and "cisgender."
More progressive-minded folks, of course, think the letter is a stroke of genius, and clapped back at Moms for Liberty about it loud and hard.
Governor DeSantis signed the bill into law last Monday, March 28. The first federal lawsuit alleging the bill violates the First Amendment was filed by LGBTQ advocates three days later. Let the games begin.