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Over 200 protestors demonstrate against H.B. 1069

Posted at 7:13 PM, Mar 31, 2023

TALLAHASSEE, FL (WTXL) — Hundreds gathered at Florida State's Wescott Fountain to protest a bill that they say will harm LGBTQ+ youth.

This is happening as house bill 1069 could ban on K through 8 instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in Florida. As written, it would also limit the use of preferred pronouns in schools.

Many people during that demonstration said they were extremely disappointed and upset about this bill making another step toward becoming Florida law.

One teacher said this will hurt students across the state.

"We talked about the fact that this historic event is happening all across the country. We have talked a little bit about what is happening for trans and queer youth and people at large, trans and queer," said teacher George Howard. "And we just said because this is about youth, if you want the opportunity to attend, we will support you in that."

After hearing concerns from their students, non-binary teacher George Howard gave their students from Cornerstone Learning Community the chance to exercise their first amendment rights.

The legislation that concerned these young students: HB 1069.

"Our school is lucky in that we are a safe place for all kids," Howard said. "We also are not a public school. So, we really are safe from outrageous bills like 'Don't Say Gay.'"

However, students in public schools said they have already seen impacts from similar legislation.

Bills like HB 1557, known as the "Don't Say Gay" bill, which currently bans instruction on sexuality and gender identity for kindergarten through third grade.

Will Larkins is a non-binary high school student that traveled from Orlando to fight against this new bill.

"They are killing public education and I am seeing it happen right in front of my eyes," Larkins said. "I have seen books get removed off of shelves. I've seen shelves in my English class go empty."

Howard said they hope that the bill has no impact on their students.

"I think it is very important for these kids to have the same access to freedom of speech, to basic things like using restrooms that they need," Howard said. "These are basic human rights issues that all of these kids stand behind."

This demonstration also took place on Transgender Visibility Day, a day meant to honor and shine a light on transgender people across the world.

Protesters said they will continue to fight so this bill doesn't become law.