The Times They Are A’changin’…or maybe not

As you may have heard, Florida Governor DeathSantis recently signed into law the “Don’t Say Gay” and the “Stop Woke” bills, both of which are aimed at restricting information about LGBTQ (and black and brown and and and) people in education at all levels. These bills are part of the far-right’s attempt to roll us back to…well as it turns out the 1980s. During my internship work, I recently ran across an opinion article from February 10th 1982 in the Gainesville Sun, which was a scathing rebuttal of the amendment proposed the previous year known as the Trask Amendment. I did some further digging and also found an Independent Florida Alligator article from September 4th 1981 about the Amendment in UF’s digital archives. Ultimately, the Amendment to the budget was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, but I found the terms interesting.

Gainesville Sun Opinion Page, Feb 10th 1982

You see, the amendment stated that any state funded college that supported or endorsed an organization that “promotes premarital sex” (remember this is long before Gay Marriage, so all gay sex was by default premarital) would lose their state funding. Sound familiar? Yea. This amendment was explicitly stated by the sponsors to be aimed at gay and lesbian student associations, but putting the word “gay” in the bill was too unpopular so they changed it to “premarital” instead.

This is just one example in the archives of Florida politics of the past mirroring the politics of the right today. We must move past these asinine attempts to disenfranchise and eliminate vulnerable populations like queer folks, trans folks, and people of color. I’m tired of continuing to have to fight for our very right to exist. It is insane to me that in 2022 we are having the very same arguments over again.

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