There are many discussions about Florida Parental Rights in Education Act (House Bill 1557) which is also called “Don’t Say Gay” Bill by its opponents and “Anti-Grooming” Bill by its supporters. It is predicted to hurt LGBTQ+ young people on the one hand and solve the problem of age-inappropriate education on another.
To understand students better, EduBirdie team decided to conduct our own research. We wanted to check if they think this law can affect LGBTQ+ young people and see how their early childhood affected their perception of gender identity and sexual orientation.
The sample included 1427 students aged 16-21. 733 self-identified as “female”, 690 as “male” and 4 as “gender-diverse”. 206 of them stated they are part of LGBTQ+ community and 813 know someone who is.
78% of the polled students think this law is harmful for LGBTQ+ community and 63% think it is harmful not only for them.
58% of people who identify themselves as a part of LGBTQ+ community say they began to understand their sexuality and/or gender identity in the puberty age of 11-14. Majority of them also say it was hard to come out and start the conversation. So, 60% were struggling with opening up to parents and 71% found it difficult to open up in schools and colleges.
Moreover, 42% LGBTQ+ Florida students had thoughts their sexual orientation is “wrong” and they had to hide it. There are also 9% of the polled students who still hide their sexual orientation.
We also found out that 74% of the polled students remember watching movies, series or animated films with LGBTQ+ characters when they were children. 92% of them don’t see such characters’ representation as harmful, and it even helped some students to start the conversation. This way, 13% of polled LGBTQ+ students told us they started to ask their parents about orientations based on movies and opened up about their own.
74% of the polled students believe that speaking about about genders and sexualities helps in building equal community without hatred and discrimination.
Looking at the results, our team believes it is important to understand students’ needs and opinions on important social changes to improve the legislative system.