On Tuesday evening, both ABC’s World News Tonight and CBS Evening News were clearly upset that kindergarten to third-grade students in Florida won’t be taught about transgender ideology after the passage of the Parental Rights In Education bill, which the left ludicrously calls the “don’t say gay” bill.
“Well, today, Florida lawmakers passed what opponents have called the 'don't say gay' bill. The measure would limit classroom lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity among young children,” a clearly disappointed Norah O’Donnell announced at the beginning of the segment on CBS Evening News before turning to national correspondent Manuel Bojorquez.
Bojorquez tried to exploit the bullying of a seventeen-year-old transgender student named Andrew Triloleo to gin up opposition to the legislation, which doesn’t even address sexual education in high school.
“He now fears other LGBTQ youth will be hurt by Florida's Parental Rights in Education bill, which would ban classroom introduction on sexual orientation or gender identity in Kindergarten through grade three,” Bojorquez reported.
CBS then brought in Florida State Representative Joe Harding who was the sponsor of the House version of the bill to be asked: “You may have LGBTQ youth who do not have a supportive home environment. Wouldn't the school be a safe place?”
Harding correctly noted that he thinks schools are a safe place and should continue to be that way regardless of whether the legislation passes.
During ABC’s segment on the Florida bill, correspondent Victor Oquendo panicked that the bill passed and “has been sent to Governor Ron DeSantis to sign.” Also noting that DeSantis has already announced that he supports the bill and is likely to sign it.
Oquendo huffed that the state Senate passed the bill “despite days of protests from the LGBTQ community and thousands of students.”
Much like the CBS segment, ABC also interviewed state representative Harding who explained what the legislation does:
All it does is state what is age– talks about what's appropriate in the classroom to teach and then it talks about the fact that the parent has the right to be engaged in the education of their children.
Undeterred, Oquendo reported that “critics warn this will prevent teachers and schools from helping children who feel bullied or ostracized and have nowhere to turn.” Which is not true.
It’s unclear how banning public school teachers from talking to three-year-olds about sexual identity would cause students to be bullied. What neither network mentioned is that nowhere in the Florida bill is the word “gay” mentioned.
To read the relevant transcript click expand:
CBS Evening News
6:44:11 p.m. Eastern
NORAH O’DONNELL: Well, today, Florida lawmakers passed what opponents have called "the don't say gay" bill. The measure would limit classroom lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity among young children. The ACLU says 15 other states are considering bills that would also address LGBTQ+ issues in school. We get more now from CBS' Manuel Bojorquez.
MANUEL BOJORQUEZ: Some have voiced their opposition in public. For others, the struggle is personal. 17-year-old Andrew Triloleo, who is transgender, says the safe space he has sewing and drawing at home was always missing at school.
ANDREW TRILOLEO: I was harassed and discriminated against by like both students and teachers and administrators alike.
BOJORQUEZ: He says years of bullying and physical violence forced him to leave three different schools.
TRILOLEO: I didn't get a high school experience. I didn't get to go to homecoming. I didn't get to go to football games.
BOJORQUEZ: He now fears other LGBTQ youth will be hurt by Florida's Parental Rights in Education bill, which would ban classroom introduction on sexual orientation or gender identity in Kindergarten through grade three. Republican State Representative Joe Harding sponsored the house bill.
REP. JOE HARDING: We can't ban a conversation. We can't ban a discussion. That's not what we're doing.
BOJORQUEZ: But critics argue a provision allowing parents to sue school districts could have a chilling effect on those discussions and that the bill's broad language could apply to all grade levels.
PROTESTERS: Trans lives matter! Trans lives matter!
BOJORQUEZ: You may have LGBTQ youth who do not have a supportive home environment. Wouldn't the school be a safe place?
HARDING: I think the schools are a safe place, and they need to continue to be a safe place.
BOJORQUEZ: Andrew disagrees. What's your message to anybody who’s having some of the struggles you’ve had?
TRILOLEO: It's okay to struggle. But eventually, you get to a place where you feel like you can express yourself and be happy and do what you want to do.
BOJORQUEZ: Florida Governor Ron Desantis has voiced his support for the bill. It's put one of the state's largest employers, Disney, in a tight spot with some employees wanting the company to denounce the bill, but the company's CEO saying they will not take a public stance on it. Norah?
ABC’s World News Tonight
6:45:46 p.m. Eastern
DAVID MUIR: Meantime, back here at home tonight and to Florida's controversial legislation passing, now sent to the Governor there tonight. It's called the parental rights in education bill. Critics call it the "Don't say gay" bill. What it would prevent teachers from saying or doing. Some asking tonight, if this is signed what about isolated or bullied children? Who will they be able to turn to at school? Here's Victor Oquendo in Florida tonight.
VICTOR OQUENDO: Tonight, Florida's controversial legislation -- dubbed by critics as the "don't say gay" bill, and gaining national attention has been sent to Governor Ron Desantis to sign. The Governor already signaling he supports it. The state Senate passing the bill 22-17 today, despite days of protests from the LGBTQ community and thousands of students. Officially called the "Parental rights in education" bill, the measure bans lessons regarding "Sexual orientation or gender identity" in grades K through third, and any instruction "That is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate" according to state standards. Those standards, however, not yet in place for several grades.
REP. JOE HARDING: All it does is state what is age– talks about what's appropriate in the classroom to teach and then it talks about the fact that the parent has the right to be engaged in the education of their children.
PROTESTERS: We say gay! We say gay!
OQUENDO: But critics warn this will prevent teachers and schools from helping children who feel bullied or ostracized and have nowhere to turn. According to the Trevor Project, 52% of LGBTQ youth enrolled in middle or high school reported being bullied in the last year, and 42% reported seriously considering suicide. President Biden has already condemned the bill and tonight, his education secretary suggested schools implementing it could lose access to federal grants due to a 1972 law. David?