Peter Greene discovered an email blast from the radical rightwing group that calls itself “Moms for Liberty.” The “Moms” are outraged by a letter supposedly written by a teacher in Florida who promised to follow the letter of the “Don’t Say Gay” law and eliminate all references to gender identity from his/her/their classroom.

The teacher noted that the new law bans all references to gender identity or sexual orientation in K-3 classrooms.

To be in full compliance with the law, the teacher wrote, he/she/they will make the classroom gender-free.

Furthermore, I will be removing all books or instruction which refer to a person being a “mother” “father” “husband” or “wife” as these are gender identities that also may allude to sexual orientation. Needless to say, all books which refer to a character as “he” or “she” will also be removed from the classroom. If you have any
concerns about this policy, please feel free to contact your local congressperson.

To be in accordance with this policy, I will no longer be referring to your student with gendered pronouns. All students will be referred to as “they” or “them.” I will no longer use a gendered title such as “Mr.” or “Mrs.” or make any references to my husband/wife in the classroom. From now on I will be using the non-gendered title “Mx.”

In an earlier post, Greene had predicted that the first victim of the new law would be gendered bathrooms. If it is illegal to discuss gender identity, then schools should remove all references to gender.

Dana Goldstein, writing in the New York Times, suggested that the law would lead to the removal of any books that refer to gay men or women, in literature or history.

The language is vague and subject to interpretation. The preamble of the bill further muddles matters. It prohibits not only “instruction” around gender identity and sexual orientation, but also “classroom discussion” of these topics.

“Classroom instruction” could mean eliminating books in the classroom with L.G.B.T.Q. characters or historical figures. No “classroom discussion” is a broad phrase, and could mean that teachers with a student with gay parents should not talk about those families with the entire class.

And while the language of the bill highlights the youngest students, all grades are affected by the provision requiring gender and sexuality to be discussed in ways that are “age appropriate or developmentally appropriate.” Again, those terms are highly subjective. Parents, school staff and students are likely to clash over what this means.