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'Don't Say Gay' bill will 'literally' kill kids, Compass Center director says

Opponents fear rising suicide rates among LGBTQ teens
Posted at 4:56 PM, Feb 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-09 17:44:25-05

LAKE WORTH BEACH, Fla. — As Florida lawmakers move closer to passing the "Don't Say Gay" bill at the state Capitol concern is growing among LGBTQ advocates who work with teens in Palm Beach County.

The measure, SB 1834, cleared a Senate committee in Tallahassee this week.

There have been passionate reactions to the bill by people who work at the Compass LGBTQ Community Center in Lake Worth Beach.

"I think this 'Don't Say Gay' bill is literally going to kill kids," said Julie Seaver, the director at the Compass Center.

The bill aims to stop all discussions about sexual orientation or gender identity in public schools.

Julie Seaver, director of the Compass Community Center in Lake Worth Beach
Julie Seaver shares why she fears the bill will have harmful effects on LGBTQ youth.

The bill's sponsor, Sen. Dennis Baxley, R-Lady Lake, said the discussion should be at home.

"These children do not belong to the state," Baxley said. "They belong to families and without their involvement, there's no success for children."

Sen. Dennis Baxley speaks about 'Don't Say Gay' bill
Sen. Dennis Baxley shares why he believes the legislation is needed in Florida.

Reactions to the bill have reached from the governor, who indicated support for it, to the White House, which has called it hateful.

Seaver worries about rising suicide rates among LGBTQ teens if they can't have discussions with adults they trust.

"Teachers, educators, school administrators the nurse, the guidance counselor, many times those are the first mentors that kids of all ages look up to," Seaver said.

All expectations are that the bill will pass in some form and soon reach the governor's desk.