A Florida sophomore with two moms was returning from lunch at Sikes Elementary School in Lakeland last week when he overheard two teachers say the state legislature had just passed the bill” Don’t say gay.”
“It’s something they’re not supposed to talk about because when they talk about ‘Don’t Say Gay,’ they’re technically talking about gay,” 8-year-old Sawyer Robbins told The Daily Beast on Monday. .
The boy understood that the bill meant that this teacher could not talk about a family like his at school.
“What if someone’s parents are gay? ” He asked. “You can’t talk about your parents because they’re gay.”
The news about the bill triggered a recent memory.
“The first thing I thought of was something that happened not too long ago,” he said. “I was telling my friend about my parents before it was a thing and he didn’t know what lesbian meant. So I told him what that meant. I said, ‘It means when a girl marries a girl.’ He said, ‘That’s weird.’ I said, “It’s not their fault that they fall in love.”
He added: “But now, if [a friend] don’t know what it is, I can’t tell him. I can’t even have the same conversation that we had because [of] the Don’t Say Gay bill.
Sawyer offered his thoughtful opinion on the legislation Governor Ron DeSantis has since signed into law.
“That’s stupid,” he said. “It needs to go because people can feel left out and feel really sad and stuff. Everyone should be able to like everyone else and be able to talk about it at school.
Since Sawyer understands the law, even a kind-hearted teacher who notes that a student feels left out won’t be able to say anything.
“Because it’s a rule,” Sawyer said,
He was speaking to The Daily Beast in the presence of one of his two moms, Kallie Robbins. She recognized the irony in how her son learned that the Republican majority had passed a measure banning instruction and effectively any teacher-led discussion about gender and sexuality between kindergarten and third grade.
Kallie recalled that Sawyer was in disbelief when he walked out of Sikes Elementary last week.
“Is it really over? He asked.
“Yeah, it did,” Kallie recalls.
“I can’t believe it,” Sawyer said through his recollections.
“I was really hoping it wouldn’t,” she told him. “But this is Florida, so I didn’t have high hopes.”
The conversation between Sawyer and Kallie continued over the next few days. She said the bill prematurely opened her son’s eyes to homophobia and made others feel different.
“It breaks my heart,” Kallie said.
Gender and sexuality had become a much bigger issue than it otherwise would have been at that age.
“Before it was ‘Oh my moms are gay’ and that was it,” Kallie recalled. “But now he’s got all these racing thoughts, like, ‘Are my mothers going to hell?’ He asks me outright, ‘So you’re going to hell?’ I’m like, ‘I’m driving a van there…but for a lot of different reasons.’ »
She remembers one time almost ten years ago when her eldest son, John, now 14, came home with something he had learned outside of class.
“One day, I think it was in first grade, he was like, ‘Mom, did you know boys can marry boys? And that means they’re gay,'” she recalled. “And I was like, ‘Man, how many moms do you have?’ And it’s ‘Like, well two.’ And I’m like, ‘So your mom married your other mom. It means we’re gay too. And he’s like, ‘What?’”
Since then she has been more open with her five children, who also include Charlotte, 10, Harry, 6, and Henry, 4.
“I’ve been honest with my kids,” she said. “Like when they start school, I’m like, ‘You know, there’s going to be people who are going to ask about you having two mothers and that’s okay. You can tell them about us. And you know, there are people who don’t understand it. And there will be people who won’t like it… And all you can do is rise above it. We can be better and show them, you know, we’re not that different. Our family is like their family.
She added: “We’ll have play dates and the kid will be like, ‘Why do you have two mums? And I just tell them, ‘You know, every family is different. Some families have one mother and one father, some families only have mothers, some families only have fathers, and some people have two mothers and two fathers. They are just families. I have never seen a child feel uncomfortable or anything. They just say “Okay”, and run away and play. Why can’t we stop there? Because children, they are born to love. They don’t just go out and hate gay people.
As big Disney fans, the family is heartened by the stance the company has finally taken against the new law. Sawyer’s favorite part of Disney World is Tomorrowland, and he foresees a bright future.
“I think it’s going to be really cool,” he said. “We will probably have hoverboards and there will definitely be a new tallest building.”
He suggested that the Florida of the future might come to their senses and reconsider the “Don’t Say Gay” law.
“And get rid of it,” he said.
He agreed when a reporter suggested the bill was a step backwards.
“It’s kind of like how everyone got racist again,” Sawyer said.
A measure of the gift as determined by the new law came from another of Kallie’s children when she picked them up from school on Monday. Charlotte overheard Kallie telling Sawyer that a reporter was going to interview her about the law.
“She got her hands dirty with her two cents. Kallie reported. “She was recounting how her teacher told them that gay only means happy now.”