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pete buttigieg, chasten buttigieg, don't say gay bill

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

Republican lawmakers in Florida are pushing a bill that would restrict how teachers are allowed to discuss gender and sexuality in kindergarten through fifth grades. Officially known as the Parental Rights in Education bill, it has been dubbed the “Don't Say Gay” bill by its opponents.

The bill recently passed a Florida House committee vote and cleared the state's Senate Education Committee this week.

Under the House bill, Florida school districts "may not encourage classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students."

It could also encourage parents to sue schools if they feel that gender or sexuality has been discussed inappropriately.

The bill’s vague warning doesn’t define what "age-appropriate" and "developmentally appropriate” mean, leading some to believe it would shut down discussion of those matters altogether. If passed, teachers would be rightfully scared to broach the topics for fear of bringing a lawsuit upon their district.


Florida’s Republican governor Ron DeSantis hasn’t specifically said if he’d sign the bill but has signaled his support. "We've seen instances of students being told by different folks in school, 'Oh, don't worry, don't pick your gender yet, do all this other stuff.' They won't tell the parents about these discussions that are happening. That is entirely inappropriate," DeSantis said.

"The larger issue with all of this is parents must have a seat at the table when it comes to what's going on in their schools," he added.

Obviously, children should be taught about gender sexuality in ways that are age-appropriate, but that should be across the board, regardless of whether someone is gay, straight, nonbinary or transgender.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, the first openly gay official to lead a department within the federal government, gave a clear and level-headed explanation on CNN on why the bill is so dangerous to the LGBTQ community.

Buttigieg said the bill was “absolutely” dangerous. “And the reason is that it tells youth who are different or whose families are different that there's something wrong with them out of the gate,” Buttigieg told CNN. “And I do think that contributes to the shocking levels of suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts among LGBTQ youth.”

In a tweet, Buttigieg's husband, Chasten, referenced a Trevor Project survey that found alarming rates of suicidal thoughts among LGBTQ youth.

In the CNN interview, Buttigieg used an example from his own life to show how the bill would hurt LGBT families. He and his husband recently adopted twins.

“Chasten, my husband, pointed out that, you know, if our kids someday, some Monday morning come into class and you know, kids are sitting around, the teacher's got the morning circle talking about how everybody's weekends went, and one of them says, ‘I had the best weekend with my dads’,” Buttigieg explained.

“Is a teacher supposed to say, ‘No, we don't talk about that here’? You know, if it's at any age where it's appropriate to talk about, you know, a kid's mom and dad, then it should be appropriate to talk about a kid's mom and mom, or dad and dad—or whatever family structures we live with," he added. “That's part of what it means to be pro-family, is to be pro-every family.”

The Buttigiegs are right. You can’t just make laws that ban people from talking about their everyday lives. LGBTQ people are everywhere and are important parts of the lives of the children in our schools, whether they are teachers, parents or family members. It’s not only bigoted but just plain ridiculous to try to erase them from our communities.

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This is the most important van in NYC… and it’s full of socks.

How can socks make such a huge difference? You'd be surprised.

all photos provided by Coalition for The Homeless

Every night, the van delivers nourishment in all kinds of ways to those who need it most

True

Homelessness in New York City has reached its highest levels since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Over 50,000 people sleep each night in a shelter, while thousands of others rely on city streets, the subway system and other public locations as spaces to rest.

That’s why this meal (and sock) delivery van is an effective resource for providing aid to those experiencing homelessness in New York City.

Every night of the year, from 7pm to 9:30, the Coalition for the Homeless drives a small fleet of vans to over 25 stops throughout upper and lower Manhattan and in the Bronx. At each stop, adults and families in need can receive a warm meal, a welcoming smile from volunteers, and a fresh, comfy new pair of Bombas socks. Socks may be even more important than you think.

Bombas was founded in 2013 after the discovery that socks were the #1 most requested clothing item at homeless shelters.

Access to fresh, clean socks is often limited for individuals experiencing homelessness—whether someone is living on the street and walking for much of the day, or is unstably housed without reliable access to laundry or storage. And for individuals experiencing or at risk of homelessness —expenses might need to be prioritized for more critical needs like food, medication, school supplies, or gas. Used socks can’t be donated to shelters for hygienic reasons, making this important item even more difficult to supply to those who need it the most.

Bombas offers its consumers durable, long-lasting and comfortable socks, and for every pair of Bombas socks purchased, an additional pair of specially-designed socks is donated to organizations supporting those in need, like Coalition for the Homeless. What started out as a simple collaboration with a few organizations and nonprofits to help individuals without housing security has quickly become a bona fide giving movement. Bombas now has approximately 3,500 Giving Partners nationwide.

Though every individual’s experience is unique, there can frequently be an inherent lack of trust of institutions that want to help—making a solution even more challenging to achieve. “I’ve had people reach out when I’m handing them a pair of socks and their hands are shaking and they’re looking around, and they’re wondering ‘why is this person being nice to me?’” Robbi Montoya—director at Dorothy Day House, another Giving Partner—told Bombas.

Donations like socks are a small way to create connection. And they can quickly become something much bigger. Right now over 1,000 people receive clothing and warm food every night, rain or shine, from a Coalition for the Homeless van. That bit of consistent kindness during a time of struggle can help offer the feeling of true support. This type of encouragement is often crucial for organizations to help those take the next difficult steps towards stability.

This philosophy helped Bombas and its abundance of Giving Partners extend their reach beyond New York City. Over 75 million clothing items have been donated to those who need it the most across all 50 states. Over the years Bombas has accumulated all kinds of valuable statistics, information, and highlights from Giving Partners similar to the Coalition for the Homeless vans and Dorothy Day House, which can be found in the Bombas Impact Report.

In the Impact Report, you’ll also find out how to get involved—whether it’s purchasing a pair of Bombas socks to get another item donated, joining a volunteer group, or shifting the conversation around homelessness to prioritize compassion and humanity.

To find out more, visit BeeBetter.com.

This article originally appeared on 06.01.18


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