Biden Officials Meet With Florida LGBTQ+ Youth to Assure Support
Author: Trudy Ring
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and Dr. Rachel Levine, assistant secretary for health at the Department of Health and Human Services, met virtually with Florida LGBTQ+ students and their families Thursday and assured the participants of the Biden administration’s support amid the passage of the state’s “don’t say gay” bill and other attacks on the community.
“The department and the Biden-Harris administration stands with LGBTQI+ students and families in Florida and across the country. Laws around the country, including in Florida, have targeted and sought to bully some of our most vulnerable students and families, and create division in our schools,” Cardona said, according to a Department of Education press release. “My message to you is that this administration won’t stand for bullying or discrimination of any kind, and we will use our authorities to protect, support, and provide opportunities for LGBTQI+ students and all students.”
“We need to support LGBTQI+ youth, their parents and families to help them achieve the good health and quality care they deserve,” said Levine, the first out transgender official confirmed to a federal government position by the U.S. Senate. “Our communities have a champion in President Biden. The president supports equality and works to ensure everyone is represented. And that gives people a voice, a chance to effect change, to help people understand the diverse needs of our nation.”
The students and families shared their concerns about anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, and Cardona and Levine directed them to resources for mental health support.
Both houses of Florida’s legislature have passed the Parental Rights in Education bill, nicknamed the “don’t say gay” bill because it would ban instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in grades K-3 and require that it be “age-appropriate” in higher grades. Opponents say the “age-appropriate” definition is vague and that the legislation overall will further marginalize LGBTQ+ students and staff. The bill awaits Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’s signature, and he has indicated support for it. President Biden and administration officials have frequently spoken out against this legislation and other anti-LGBTQ+ measures.
Original Article on The Advocate
Author: Trudy Ring