Statement from UnidosUS Action Fund Executive Director Rafael Collazo on the passage of Florida's "Don't Say Gay or Trans" bill (HB 1557)
March 9, 2022
“At a time when our country is still recovering from COVID, the fate of our democracy in the U.S. is at stake, and war rages in Ukraine, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and his Republican colleagues continue to stoop to new lows to make up fake threats to Florida’s families. HB 1557, also known as the “Don’t Say Gay or Trans” bill, is another example of the faux culture wars that DeSantis and his cronies continue to conjure up to sow division and foment hate.
Florida’s students, teachers, and families deserve better, especially when so many are looking to their state leaders to help them recover from the pandemic by providing academic and mental health support. This bill does the exact opposite and hurts those students most in need.
More than one million Florida PreK–12 students identify as Hispanic according to the Florida Department of Education’s EdStats database. National research shows that while at least 22% of Hispanics from ages 25 to 40 identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+), rates are higher for those who are under age 24. The well-being of all students, including LGBTQ+ students, makes the threats of HB 1557 all the more real for Florida’s Hispanic students and their families.
We vehemently oppose HB 1557 and any legislation that undermines the safety and well-being of the most marginalized.
We call on Governor DeSantis and state leaders to start addressing the pocketbook issues that will actually improve the lives of Floridians – increased funding for schools, affordable housing, and access to healthcare. It’s time to stop the political theater and start governing.”
The UnidosUS Action Fund works to expand the influence and political power of the Latino community through civic engagement and accountability.