The Florida Parental Rights in Education Act, known colloquially as the “Don’t Say Gay” law, is the first in 21 years to prohibit the discussion of gender and sexual diversity in schools.

Before its passing in 2022, such laws were considered to be archaic. Now, several states are following in Florida’s footsteps.

In a slew of anti-trans bills being proposed this January, Virginia has pre-filed a bill titled the Youth Health Protection Act. The first and second sections of the bill detail a ban on all gender-affirming care for minors, from puberty blockers to plastic surgery.

But this isn’t just a war on children’s access to healthcare. The bill defines a minor as “any individual who is less than 21 years of age.” That means adults aged 18 to 20 could be blocked from receiving proper care, too.

The third section of the bill subtitled “Protection of parental rights,” echoes Florida’s law almost word for word. Both bills discourage the withholding of any information regarding a student’s mental health and well-being from their parents.

Virginia’s claim to parental rights takes it further, though, explicitly requiring that government agents are required to notify parents if a minor exhibits “gender nonconformity.”

If this were to become law, even cisgender students could be reported for expressing themselves, regardless of potential abuse from parents as a result, a precaution that even Florida has in writing.


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