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Florida Censors William Shakespeare In Classrooms For Being Too Gay

Florida Censors William Shakespeare In Classrooms For Being Too Gay

Willam shakespeare on a pride flag
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Homophobia by any other name...

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Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo? Well one place he won't be in, are Florida's classrooms thanks to another bizarre and homophobic move by Florida Governor and presidential longshot Ron DeSantis and his infamously bigoted law.

Because of Florida's “don’t say gay” law prohibiting sexually explicit classroom materials or topics in schools, students in a Florida district will only read excerpts from Shakespeare’s plays instead of the complete works. This is just one example of the consequences of the law on the state's education curriculum.

To comply with Florida’s new legislation, Hillsborough County Public Schools have updated their curriculum guides to avoid “pornography or obscene depictions of sexual conduct.” In addition, the district said the revised state standards would also encourage students to read a more variety of books, the Associated Press reports.

In the classic Romeo and Julie, Shakespeare suggests premarital sex between the underage couple, and many other Shakespeare plays use titillating puns and innuendo.

School district officials said that schools will have Shakespeare’s works available for checkout at their media centers. The district considers the change harmless.

“First and foremost, we have not excluded Shakespeare from our high school curriculum. Students will still have the physical books to read excerpts in class,” a district statement read. “Curriculum guides are continually reviewed and refined throughout the year to align with state standards and current law.”

On Tuesday, Florida’s Education Commissioner recommended that students read Romeo and Juliet in August, further confusing the situation, the wire service noted.

Also, there may be a temporary end to the controversy surrounding a book ban elsewhere in Florida.

Since Florida’s “don’t say gay” law was passed, a favored children’s book about two male penguins hatching a chick together had been banned from being distributed to Orlando-area Lake County students. After students and the authors of And Tango Makes Three filed a federal lawsuit on First Amendment grounds in June, the district recently reversed course and asked a judge to dismiss the claim as moot.

According to Florida education officials and school board members who filed motions Friday, age restrictions on And Tango Makes Three were lifted. The Florida Department of Education indicated that the limitation applied to classroom instruction only.

According to the American Library Association, this book is among the 100 most censored books in the past decade.

Republicans have been crusading against LGBTQ+ books and topics in schools nationwide. Because, frankly, knowlege is powerful and so is ignorance.

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Christopher Wiggins

Christopher Wiggins is a senior national reporter for The Advocate. He has a rich career in storytelling and highlighting underrepresented voices. Growing up in a bilingual household in Germany, his German mother and U.S. Army father exposed him to diverse cultures early on, influencing his appreciation for varied perspectives and communication. His work in Washington, D.C., primarily covers the nexus of public policy, politics, law, and LGBTQ+ issues. Wiggins' reporting focuses on revealing lesser-known stories within the LGBTQ+ community. Key moments in his career include traveling with Vice President Kamala Harris and interviewing her in the West Wing about LGBTQ+ support.

Christopher Wiggins is a senior national reporter for The Advocate. He has a rich career in storytelling and highlighting underrepresented voices. Growing up in a bilingual household in Germany, his German mother and U.S. Army father exposed him to diverse cultures early on, influencing his appreciation for varied perspectives and communication. His work in Washington, D.C., primarily covers the nexus of public policy, politics, law, and LGBTQ+ issues. Wiggins' reporting focuses on revealing lesser-known stories within the LGBTQ+ community. Key moments in his career include traveling with Vice President Kamala Harris and interviewing her in the West Wing about LGBTQ+ support.