PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — A new law signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday said Florida students and teachers won't be "forced" to use pronouns that aren’t in line with their biological sex.
“We’re not doing the pronoun Olympics in Florida, it’s not happening here," DeSantis said at Cambridge Christian School in Tampa. “We never did this through all of human history until like what, two weeks ago now this is something? They’re having third-graders declare pronouns?"
HB1069 is an expansion of the controversial Parental Rights in Education Law, also known by critics as "don't say gay."
It also bans teaching gender identity and sexual orientation from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade. The state Board of Education last month banned it through 12th grade.
"I feel like these bills and these laws are putting people in so much danger," Blue Gilliam, a 15-year-old student in Palm Beach County who uses they/them pronouns.
"Even I’m asking my mom I kind of want to leave I’m scared," Gilliam said. "I do feel like I'm being targeted and he's disregarding so many issues that are putting kids in danger and putting me in danger."
Blue is nonbinary and struggled with their identity during elementary school.
Gilliam now fears laws like this limit how they can express themselves.
“I have such a connection with my teachers and it’s heartbreaking to see that I can’t really express myself to them without getting them in trouble,” Gilliam said.
With a number of new laws now signed by the governor, family members said they are considering moving out of state.
"Through supporting my nonbinary child who has not been able to fit into either 'he' or 'she' the way that is defined has opened up my mind up to create a different world for me and my gender expression," said Tuesday Gilliam, Blue's mom. "I would imagine it would do that for everyone and be less scary if we were able to talk about it but the fact that we have laws that we cannot talk about it is taking us so far back, so far back."
The new law regarding pronouns is set to go into effect starting July 1.