Someone Is Always “Saying Gay”

Forbidding schools to teach LGBTQ+ identities doesn’t keep kids ignorant — it makes sure the most hateful voices define the conversation.

Jude Ellison S. Doyle
5 min readMar 8, 2022

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A young girl looks with evident dismay at what I’m assuming is her teacher.
Sorry, Olivia, you were born in Florida. Photo by Les Anderson on Unsplash

My primary identity is “parent.” I’ve changed jobs since I had my daughter; I’ve moved; I’ve come out; I’ve transitioned. Nearly every other part of my identity has changed, but the one role that remains constant, the one thing I never actually stop being, is the person whose job it is to nurture and care for this particular child.

It has been very, very hard to be a parent in these past few weeks. The anti-LGBTQ+ agenda in the United States is concentrated on children. In Texas, parents who allow their children to transition are being investigated for “child abuse” and potentially having their children taken away by the state. In Florida, the Parental Rights in Education bill forbids teachers to “encourage classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels;” Gov. Ron DeSantis’ press secretary, Christina Whishaw, refers to it as an “Anti-Grooming Bill,” insisting that talking about gender identity or gay people with children is a form of sexual abuse.

This occurs against the usual backdrop of book bans and sports bans, a thousand different legislative efforts to make being a queer kid miserable. There are so many of these bills that it is hard to keep track of them individually. They register mostly as a general sense that the walls are closing in.

To be clear, I’m not worried for myself. It has occurred to me that, if teaching children about queer identities constitutes “child abuse,” it is a hop, skip and a jump to declaring all queer people unfit parents, or demanding mandatory sterilizations. Still, those are fears, not facts. [UPDATE: Since publishing this piece, there have been reports that CPS in Texas is , in fact, investigating parents who are trans, whether or not they have trans children. Fears and facts are hard to tell apart right now.] I’m a middle-class…

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Jude Ellison S. Doyle

Author of “Trainwreck” (Melville House, ‘16) and “Dead Blondes and Bad Mothers” (Melville House, ‘19). Columns published far and wide across the Internet.