Please say “happy”

If you have kids or grandchildren, you will probably think of them all the time, imagining them laughing and laughing while running outside, playing on a swing set, or even indoors mastering the latest video games.

A place we never imagine them? Cold and hungry on the way. Alone. It’s not safe. Fear.

But, 1.6 million children, teens and young adults end up on the streets each year, according to the True Colors Fund. And 40 percent of them – 640,000 – identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer.

Our society has reached the LGBTQ community. It has been nearly 50 years since the American Psychiatric Association eliminated homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses. In many places across the country, it is illegal to discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity. And marriage equality has been state law since 2015.

All can give us the impression that homophobia is a shame of the past. But it’s very much alive now. Especially within the transgender community, where there are people four times more likely to be victims of rape, sexual assault or any assault than their cisgender partner, according to a UCLA School of Law 2021 study.

And with what appears to be a solid conservative majority in the U.S. Supreme Court, a number of countries are passing legislation that they hope will not only retract many of the measures that have opened the door to equality in the past decade, but run it again. at full speed.

One prime example is the Florida “Parental Rights in Education” bill, proposed by its governor, Ron DeSantis. If you haven’t ever heard of that bill, it could be because some are actually calling it. Instead, it’s deridingly called the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

It’s a super-fuzzy bill that prohibits schools from teaching about sexual orientation or gender identity to children from kindergarten to third grade that are “not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate … in accordance with state standards”.

What is worth it? What is the standard? It is not defined, which means whatever the person in power wants to mean.

DeSantis defended the bill, stating that children at that age were too young to learn about sex. But being LGBTQ is not more about sex than cis and heterosexuality.

But for DeSantis, and Republicans like him, fear is how diversity leads to moral corruption, whether it’s about sexuality and gender identity, or even when teaching what is called “critical race theory.”

Florida is not alone, by the way. CNN’s Giselle Rhoden has found more than 150 anti -LGBT bills floating around the legislatures of more than 30 states.

There are no bills that find their way to Albany, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t fight this atrocity elsewhere.

Not all are born with high social standards for us, such as heterosexuality and gender identification are assigned at birth.

Celebrate diversity, don’t be afraid of it. And don’t let DeSantis and others like him escort us back to the Dark Ages.