Point Foundation condemns Florida House Bill 1557, also known as the "don't say gay bill" for the damage it can do to the safety and success of students in Florida. This bill would decrease students' performance in primary grades, which could later inhibit their capacity to get into, and achieve success in places of higher learning. Effectively, the proponents of the bill will create a future where less and less Floridians can get into college and earn a degree.
Our mission and 20 years of work as the leading LGBTQ higher education scholarship and services foundation stands directly in opposition to the intent and effects of this bill.
House Bill 1557 will prevent educators and school program staff from providing needed education, services and even acknowledgement of their students' diverse identities. We know that students who are isolated don't perform as well in school. Students whose identities and culture must be kept a secret are more likely to face emotional and mental health crises. This can decrease students' capacity to focus on their schoolwork and, much worse, increase suicide rates and depression for young people.
Every day, Point Foundation champions LGBTQ students in higher education. If lawmakers in Florida pass House Bill 1557, they are failing the well-being and equitable treatment of students in their state. House Bill 1557 is turning the clock backwards on the advancements the LGBTQ community and our allies have spent decades to achieve. Like so many others, we hope to see a swift dismissal of this bill on the behalf of all Florida students.