Project Pride SRQ and Equality Florida will host an "Emergency Say Gay" rally from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. this Sunday, Feb. 27, at the John Ringling Bridge in downtown Sarasota. The event is being organized in response to a bill currently being considered by the Florida Legislature: The "Parental Rights Education" bill—which critics call as "Don't Say Gay" bill—would ban discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity in schools.
The measure includes an amendment that would require schools to inform parents of their child’s sexual orientation and place a deadline on school officials in regards how soon they must tell the child's family.
Critics say the bill does not take into account the effects these measures could have on a child's physical or mental health.
“LGBTQ youth are at higher risk of self-harm than the general teenage population,” Mary Tavarozzi, the board chair of Sarasota's ALSO Youth, told us earlier this year. According to the Trevor Project, LGBTQ youth face significant disparities in suicide risk compared to their straight and cisgender peers, based largely on the ways they are treated in their broader environment. Fifty-nine percent of LGBTQ middle and high school students said they felt unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation, 37 percent because of their gender and 42 percent because of their gender expression.
During the event on Sunday, a 700-foot pride flag—the world's largest—will be unveiled on the bridge. For more information, click here.