Nearly 88% of LGBTQ+ parents surveyed are concerned about the impact of Florida’s Don’t Say Gay bill, and more than half have considered moving out of state, according to a report authored by Clark University Psychology Professor Abbie Goldberg.
“Legislation can have a negative impact on LGBTQ+ parent families by cultivating a climate of fear and insecurity,” Goldberg said. “For LGBTQ+ parents without the means to move or send their children to private schools, the stress that this legislation creates will be significant.”
Goldberg’s research, conducted with the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, is the first look at the impact of HB 1557, officially titled the Parental Rights in Education bill, on LGBTQ+ parent families in Florida. The survey has led to national media coverage, including in the New York Daily News, Florida Phoenix, and Los Angeles Blade.
Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the bill into law on March 28, 2022, the first of its kind in the country. The law, which took effect on July 1, 2022, prohibits classroom instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity before the fourth grade. Any instruction after that must be “age appropriate or developmentally appropriate.”
LGBTQ+ parents in Florida are concerned that the bill would restrict them from speaking freely about their families and could affect their children’s sense of self and sense of safety, the data indicate. As a result, 56% of the 113 parents surveyed have considered moving out of Florida, and 17% have taken steps to do so.
Additional findings include:
Goldberg has spent her career researching diverse families, including LGBTQ+ parent families and adoptive-parent families, as well as the experiences of marginalized groups such as trans youth. She is the author of “Open Adoption and Diverse Families” and editor of The Sage Encyclopedia of Trans Studies and The SAGE Encyclopedia of LGBTQ Studies, which was named a 2016 Distinguished Book by the Society for the Psychological Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues, a division of the American Psychological Association.
The Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law is a think tank on sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy.