Politics

Florida state senator apologizes for anti-LGBTQ comments made during debate

On Thursday, Florida state Sen. Ileana Garcia, a Republican, issued an apology statement after she claimed on the Senate floor earlier in March during debate that being gay is “not a permanent thing.”

Her comments came just before the state Senate sent through the Parental Rights in Education bill, which critics have begun calling the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

Garcia argued on the floor that sexual orientation and gender identity can be temporary and should not be concepts discussed with or taught to young children in an academic setting. “Gay is not a permanent thing. LGBT is not a permanent thing, and it’s not a bad thing,” she commented.

Garcia then proceeded to describe a story about one of her personal friends who happens to be transgender, who she repeatedly misgendered in the statement she made. 

Garcia later posted a statement to her Twitter account, which has recently been reactivated, making an apology to “anyone” she offended while she was discussing the bill. “As a Senator, and more importantly, as a life-long member of this community, I fully understand the responsibility and impact of words on others,” she said in the tweet.

“My comments were in no way intended to generalize or disregard the experiences of any member of the LGBTQ+ community. I was trying to explain my personal life experiences and did not properly articulate my sentiments.” 

The state senator then went on to emphasize her support for the bill, which would ban classroom instruction related to sexual orientation and gender identity in primary schools.

“I do not believe that our school system should instruct children in Kindergarten – 3rd grade about sexual identity or sexual orientation. I strongly believe it’s a discussion that should be at the discretion of the parent,” she added.

“My failed attempt to convey the complexity and nuances of this matter in no way diminish the fact that the Parental Rights legislation is first and foremost about allowing children to be children and giving parents the right to guide their childhood.” 

ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: THE HILL

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