Saturday Night Live comedian Kate McKinnon summarized Hollywood outrage over Florida’s controversial new ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law in Weekend Update.
“If the ’90s were right and gay means evil, that’s the gayest law I’ve ever seen!” she said, pointing at the camera on an episode of SNL with a defiant shake of her head earlier this month. “If you can’t say it, you might as well sing it – gay, gay, gay!” The audience immediately joined in a rhythmic “gay” chant to the tune of Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water.”
McKinnon’s comedic response started a wave of other high-profile responses to the Florida bill, formerly known as the Parental Rights in Education Bill. The law, which Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law this week, bans any reference to sexual orientation in classrooms from kindergarten through third grade. Schools are also required to contact parents when a student comes to a school administration. School districts are also required to submit materials for review of “age-appropriate” materials for each grade level. Parents have the option to sue a school district if they believe the policy is being violated.
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“Queer identity is beautiful and natural. Say it to yourself until you feel confident saying it out loud,” Lin-Manuel Miranda tweeted in reaction. “Then say it again. And again. Say gay all day.
Ariana Grande echoed the backlash, calling the law “really disgusting” in an Instagram story.
Oscar Isaac, star of the upcoming Disney+ series Moon Knight, had a particularly theatrical reaction during a press conference for the series. “Gay gay gay gay gay gay gay gay gay gay gay gay!” he sang. “Yes, it is an absolutely ridiculous law. It’s insane… it’s amazing that it even exists in this country.”
Shawn Mendes encouraged citizen participation in early March to fight the legislation. “Florida is calling your senators! #LetFreeFloridaSayGay” he tweeted along with a message from Florida Equality’s account.
Some Hollywood voices, on the other hand, were noticeably absent from the conversation.
Katy Perry, a former surrogate for Hillary Clinton and current American Idol judge, has not commented on the bill. In a former interview Speaking to Out Magazine, the singer “wouldn’t have survived” without her LBTQ+ fandom.
And Taylor Swift, who used to be used her 2019 single “You Need to Calm Down” to raise money to support LGBTQ+ organizations has not publicly commented on the Florida law.
Miley Cyrus, usually a visible supporter of the LGBTQ+ community, also failed to mention “Don’t Say Gay.” 2014 Cyrus Founded the Happy Hippie Foundation to support at-risk homeless and LGBTQ+ youth and previously donated $500,000 to AIDS research.
For his part, Ron DeSantis is untouched by the Hollywood backlash. “I don’t care what Hollywood says. I don’t care what big companies say,” he said called during a press conference prior to the signing of the law. “Here I stand. I’m not backing down.”
Disney star Raven-Symone led the cast of Raven’s Home in a March 22 strike over the law. “In the [today’s] world, it is imperative that we take a stand, show support and move forward, not backward,” she said labeled an Instagram post documenting the strike. “Every family, person and child deserves to be recognized regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation. Education that reflects truth and the world we live in is something we must fight for.”
The “Don’t Say Gay” law goes into effect on July 1st.