COLAGE Executive Director Jordan Budd issued the following statement in response to Governor DeSantis’ signature of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill:
I was born and raised in Florida. It has been clear since my childhood that many people would prefer that we not exist. Emboldened by the embrace of right wing ideology on the national level, we are finally seeing the fruits of their decades-long labor. In Florida, Texas, Arizona, Tennessee, and many other states across the country, conservative ideologues have engineered legislative majorities that are now actively endangering the lives of LGBTQ+ people, people of color, women, people with disabilities, and other marginalized groups.
Once again, queerspawn and our parents are completely overlooked in most of the narratives surrounding this bill. For all the talk about how “harmful” it is to talk about sexual orientation to youth and how this is a “parents‘ rights” bill, pundits and politicians seem to have forgotten that LGBTQ+ parents already exist. We aren’t harmed by acknowledging that our parents are LGBTQ+, we are harmed by being forced into the closet about our families. That’s what makes the work of COLAGE so important — we know the feeling, and we’re tired of being erased.
As a second gen COLAGEr, I am devastated by these attacks on our community. There’s no getting around the feeling of despair. But we cannot let our anxiety lead us into complacency. As Zora Neale Hurston said, “if you are silent about your pain, they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it.” We will hold those who crafted, voted for, and signed these bills accountable, and we will do so loudly.
We will continue to say gay. We will continue to affirm the rights and dignity of the trans community. And we will not be silent in the face of flagrantly unconstitutional bigotry.