Powerful Quotes From Missourians Who Testified Against ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill

Progress MO

In case you missed it, this week the MO Leg is taking aim at LGBTQ kids and teachers, introducing a “Don’t Say Gay” bill that goes even further than the Florida bill that made national headlines last year.

Missouri's 'Don't Say Gay' Bill Is Even Worse Than Florida's

Missourians from around the state came out in droves to testify against the legislation, which would prohibit any discussions about LGBTQ people in schools.

Advocates with PROMO at Missouri Capitol on February 7, 2023

Here was some of the most powerful testimony:

I don’t think I’ve ever felt more disrespected by a single piece of legislation than this one. You are erasing me as a human from public schools. For the sake of the reputation of the State of Missouri, I hope [this bill] goes no further than this hearing… You’ve titled this the vulnerable child protection act…I was a vulnerable (gay) child, and I needed someone to stand up for me.

– State Senator Greg Razer, Missouri’s only openly gay State Senator

Should this legislation pass, thousands of families like mine across the state will seriously consider leaving the state. I think that’s exactly what this bill intends. To instill fear. To censor. To have a chilling effect… [This bill] systematically and very specifically erases LGBTQ identity and presence from classrooms.

– Katy Erker-Lynch, executive director of PROMO

The teacher may be the most stable adult in those children’s lives. There are so many circumstances in which you find teachers, counselors and club sponsors in schools being that literal lifeline for these kids. This bill … does nothing more other than take away that lifeline… [which is] a huge source of support for vulnerable teenagers.

– Aaron Schekorra, president of of PFLAG Springfield

As a school counselor, I sat with many who were so afraid that their parents would reject them as they struggled with their sexual orientation or gender identity. Censoring what students can share with school professionals will only endanger their lives and increase the risk that they will harm themselves.

– Andy Schuerman, director of school counseling at the Park Hill School District

It’s fear. It terrifies me. What do kids talk about in high school–’who are you dating? What are you going to do this weekend?’ You can’t talk about that anymore. I would probably pull my kid out of school.

– Chris Hyman, mother of an LGBTQ child from St. Charles

MO Republicans have pulled the same hateful stunts time and time again – they introduced this same legislation back in 2012. Missouri lives are at stake, and we cannot afford to let the legislature bring this bill back to the floor.

Posted February 8, 2023