Before Florida, Oklahoma Passed a Version of 'Don't Say Gay'

Saturday March 19, 2022
Originally published on March 17, 2022

With the Florida "Don't Say Gay" bill becoming a lightning rod for public discourse, some activists say that Oklahoma has its own version and it has been law since last year, reports Oklahoma television station Oklahoma's News 4.

Called HB 1775, it "is an overly vague bill that prevents conversations on race gender and sexual orientation within public schools." said Cindy Nguyen, policy director for the ACLU of Oklahoma.

"The ACLU of Oklahoma has filed a lawsuit against the state of Oklahoma over what most people know as the 'Critical Race Theory' bill but they say it limits other topics as well from being discussed in classrooms," reports News 4.

"We have already seen university professors remove content from their curricula that addresses sexual orientation as well as gender identity," said Nguyen

But a Republican legislator says it differs from the Florida bill, which passed last week and is awaiting signature by Gov. Ron DeSantis. GOP State Sen. Nathan Dahm says they are "similar and somewhat related but, no, they are not the same bill as what Florida has just passed." 

The Republican from Broken Arrow says that HB 1775 only bans the requirement of students to take sexual orientation and gender identity courses in college. He added that he would be in favor of Oklahoma having its own 'Don't Say Gay' bill.

"With some of these ideas that are being pushed on young students even on our elementary schools. Yes, I think it is something that is necessary," said Dahm.

But Rep. Jacob Rosecrants, a Democratic legislator, disagrees. "Well this isn't happening in our schools in the first place, so why are we trying to write a piece of legislation that is not happening?" he told Channel 4.

Representative Rosencrants is a former teacher from Norman. "As a parent of a trans-boy, I can tell you right now that any of this 'eraser' or using this fear mongering, is extremely dangerous," he said.

Dahm disagrees, saying: "If it's something the parents want to have the conversation with their children about, that's one thing. But no, government employees should not be having this conversation with these young students."