Miami-Dade School Board votes against LGBTQ History Month

Amy-Grace Shapiro, Online-Co-Editor-in-Chief

On Sept. 7, the Miami Dade School Board overwhelmingly voted against a proposal seeking to recognize October as “LGBTQ history month,” with opposers fearing the observation would violate the state’s Parental Rights in Educational law— commonly referred to as “Don’t Say Gay.” 

Despite the board’s own attorney acknowledging the solid legal footing, the resolution lost in an 8-1 vote following an emotionally charged testimonial meeting welcoming over 100 speakers from the public. Had the measure passed, it would have recognized October as LGBTQ History Month along with adding an expanded high-school curriculum to include landmark Supreme Court decisions on LGBTQ rights. 

Parents, teachers and students spoke for more than three hours during the Wednesday meeting, addressing the divide on beliefs among the LGBTQ community. Parents, along with civil rights groups, pleaded for acceptance and the need for recognition and support in classrooms to reduce feelings of isolation among students. Some speakers at the meeting urged the board to pass the designation, contending that it would benefit marginalized LGBTQ students who face higher risks of depression and suicide. Yet, a majority of speakers were opponents accusing the school board of “indoctrination” and “imposing ideology,” arguing that the conversation on sexuality and gender identity should be muted. 

Apart from recognizing October as LGBTQ History Month, the proposal also looked to explore the possibility of providing resources for 12th-grade social studies teachers to educate students about important landmark civil rights, including the Supreme Court’s 2016 Obergefell v. Hodges, which acknowledges same-sex marriage, and the 2020 high court decision of Bostock v. Clayton County, which protects gay and transgender employees from discrimination.

Miami school board members passed a similar resolution acknowledging LGBTQ history month in 2021 by a 7-1 vote. However, this go around created a different situation with obstacles from the Parental Rights in Education law. The Republican-led Legislature approved the law in March and it continues to affect how Florida schools address sexual orientation and gender identity issues.