The following editorial was written by Gerald Farthing, a 36 year old English teacher living in Lake Stinkhole, Florida. Mr. Farthing is gay and concerned about fallout from the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill that Gov. Ron DeSantis may sign into law that would forbid discussions of sexual orientation or gender identity in the Sunshine State’s classrooms. The views and opinions expressed herein are those of Mr. Farthing, and don’t necessarily reflect those of this outlet, its ownership, or staff.
I’ve been an English teacher at my local high school for 13 years now. In that time, I have helped thousands of Florida teenagers find a love for reading, which is a feat I’m quite proud of. Not many people realize that conservatives had a ban on reading in this state for a good part of its existence. So, the fact that I have had any success at all is a feather in my cap.
What I’m worried about now, is what happens if the Don’t Say Gay law is passed. It is true, I am gay, and I have an amazing husband and partner. But, it’s not like I spent any time in the past discussing my sexuality, so it’s not like being gay was really a part of identity in the classroom. Then again, I’ve also never shied away from discussing my life with my husband during a quick anecdote about what I did over the weekend or something. It’s just that I’m too busy teaching tenth graders about the subtext of A Catcher in the Rye to be a full-blown LGTBQ+ activist during school hours.
What happens if they pass Don’t Say Gay into law, and I slip up? What if I casually mention Derek’s softball tournament, or that my son has two fathers? Hell, can I even introduce myself to my class? On a side note, does Scott McGee, who teaches history, have to leave out that it was a gay French general who helped turn our Minutemen into a true army?
Basically, I’m trying to figure out how illegal my own existence in my own classroom will be, when and if Don’t Say Gay passes. I’m proud of myself, and of my husband, but I don’t have time to go to jail because I showed my class our Christmas card or something.
|Become a Patron!|
Writer/comedian James Schlarmann is the founder of The Political Garbage Chute and his work has been featured on The Huffington Post. You can follow James on Facebook, Spotify, and Instagram, but not Twitter because Twitter is a cesspool.