AFT Resolution


WHEREAS, thousands of young middle school, high school and college students walked out in Florida and across the country throughout the spring in response to the latest right-wing attack of the Trump movement trying to force LGBTQIA+ youth back into the closet. In the walkouts, some under the banner “Say Gay Anyway!” youth proclaimed loud and clear that they refuse to go back into the closet, and they will not accept anti-LGBTQIA+ violence in our schools, our communities and in this country. These attacks have emboldened young people to be more openly gay, transgender, and proud than ever before; and

WHEREAS, H.B. 1557, presented as “An act relating to parental rights in education,” better known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, is a vile and bigoted attack on LGBTQIA+ youth in Florida, presented as prohibiting any discussion on sexual orientation and gender identity in school classrooms; and

WHEREAS, the Florida law could eliminate any book or educational material that even mentions anything about LGBTQIA+ rights or references any LGBTQIA+ historical figures, or those who are in “nontraditional” gender roles or identity. Although the law claims to apply to the kindergarten to third-grade levels, what this law could mean is that discussions on gay and transgender people could be silenced and prohibited at any grade level; and

WHEREAS, the bill does more than prohibit classroom discussions about sexual orientation and gender identity, it’s a green light to anti-LGBTQIA+ bigots, Trump supporters, and neo-fascists to repress LGBTQIA+ students and all youth rights; and

WHEREAS, one of the most dangerous and vicious provisions of this bill also aims to compel teachers, counselors and any school staff to inform abusive, homophobic or transphobic parents if their child is discussing their sexual orientation or gender identity in school. This would make it impossible for LGBTQIA+ students to go to any adult in the education system to raise their sexuality or gender identity, isolating them and setting them up for potential abuse at home; and

WHEREAS, already in 2022, hundreds of homophobic and anti-transgender bills have been introduced in state legislatures across the country, and some have already passed. Many have specifically targeted youth and educators in schools. The passage of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law has already emboldened these efforts across the country; and

WHEREAS, these laws and the anti-LGBTQIA+, anti-youth propaganda that is used to justify them is intended to whip up attacks in our schools and communities. We must build campaigns to defend LGBTQIA+ youth and support their fight for equality; and

WHEREAS, for most young people, schools are a place to build social relations that help youth develop their own sense of identity as an independent person, including their sexual orientation and gender identity. It is essential to learning and development for young people to have a safe school environment that validates, acknowledges and celebrates LGBTQIA+ people and history, whether the students are out or not. These bills guarantee the negative reinforcement of every homophobic, anti-transgender, backward and bigoted impulse in our society; and

WHEREAS, the leadership of LGBTQIA+ youth and allies has been critical to defending all civil rights and human rights against attacks, including by the proto-fascist Trump movement over the next years. We must defend our leaders:

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers will take all necessary steps to defeat and overturn the “Don’t Say Gay” law in Florida and other homophobic and anti-transgender laws and attacks throughout the country; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT affirms our commitment to LGBTQIA+ youth to have access to age-appropriate information to learn about and develop their own sexual orientation and gender identity. We support the independent mass actions of youth to defend their existence, dignity and rights of the LGBTQIA+ community; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will vigorously defend educators who support LGBTQIA+ youth and who teach about the existence, dignity, rights, mass actions, history and pride of LGBTQIA+ people.

Adopted 9/29/2022