Miami-Dade Squashes Proposal to Make October ‘LGBTQ History Month’

The Miami-Dade County School Board has rejected a proposal recognizing October as LGBTQ History Month. In a meeting that lasted past 1:00 a.m. on Thursday, the board decided by a 5-3 vote. It is the second year in a row that the board has shot down the proposal, citing conflict with Florida’s ‘Parental Rights in Education’ law.

Board member Lucia Baez-Geller sponsored the item. If adopted, it would have required the board to deem “October 2023 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) History Month in accordance with state and federal law.” The proposal said that recognizing “LGBQ History Month” would remind ” all cultures within our wider community of the important roles that LGBTQ people have taken in shaping the social, historical, legal, and political worlds we live in today.”

However, most of the board had a different view of the item.

“This is about someone’s sexual preference, and not a cultural issue,” board member Roberto Alonso said, according to Politico. “It’s imposing ideologies and a sexual discussion that should not be happening inside of our schools.”

Hundreds of people attended the meeting, including parents, residents, and activists on both sides. More than 70 speakers commented publicly on the proposal, including members of the Christian Family Coalition and Moms for Liberty. A vote on the item was not held until roughly 10 hours after it had been introduced.

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The three board members who voted for the proposal included Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall, Luisa Santos, and Baez-Geller. While arguing before the board, Baez-Geller described the proposal as “ceremonial” and “nonbinding” before attacking opponents and accusing them of waging a “war on minorities.”

“This didn’t happen in 2021 before the Parental Rights in Education bill. It’s the cultural politics, it’s the political agendas, it’s the war on minorities, it’s the war on people who already are struggling,”

However, Vice Chairman of the Board Danny Espino argued that the proposal would violate the “intent” and “spirit” of the state’s Parental Rights in Education law. The law prohibits teachers from discussing gender identity and sexual orientation in classroom instruction.

““There is a law on the books that is clear… I really don’t know how a teacher is expected to recognize, observe and celebrate this month without being perceived by students’ parents as instruction or without crossing the line and becoming instruction,” Espino said.

Espino voted against the proposal, along with Alonso, Monica Colucci, and Chair Maria Teresa Rojas.

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Thursday’s decision marks the second year in a row that the Miami-Dade County School Board has voted down a proposal to recognize October as LGBTQ history month. Last year, the item was defeated by a vote of 8-1.

After an outcry from supporters of the LGBTQ proposal, Espino defended his decision,

“I resent the notion that a vote against this measure is a vote against a group of people. It is not all or nothing.”

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