Perceived Impact of the Parental Rights in Education Act (“Don’t Say Gay”) on LGBTQ+ Parents in Florida

Document Type



Prior studies indicate that anti-LGBTQ+ legislation has negative consequences for the well-being of LGBTQ+ people, their families, and their communities. In July of 2022, Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Act, also called the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, was signed into law. The law aimed to limit K–3 instruction and discussion related to sexuality and gender, encompassing LGBTQ+ identities. The present study surveyed 113 LGBTQ+ parents in Florida about their experiences and perceptions related to the Parental Rights in Education Act. Qualitative content analysis revealed five major themes and 14 subthemes, including: (a) living in Florida: pros and cons; (b) initial reactions to the law; (c) feelings over time; (d) coping with worries; and (e) beyond “coping”: considering the future and possibility of relocation. Recommendations center on the need for counseling psychologists to use their privilege and training to advocate on behalf of LGBTQ+ parents, families and others impacted by this legislation.

Significance of the Scholarship to the Public:
In 2022, Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Act (“Don’t Say Gay bill”) was signed into law. In a survey of 113 LGBTQ+ parents in Florida, most participants reported anger, fear, disbelief, and sadness in response to the law, which they coped with via activism, seeking support, disengaging from the news, and other strategies. Almost 50% of the sample were considering moving out of Florida, and 14% had taken steps to do so, out of concern for their families’ well-being in an increasingly stigmatizing climate.

Publication Title

The Counseling Psychologist

Publication Date







anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, coping, qualitative methods, relocation, structural stigma