'don't say gay'

Wilson Cruz: “Florida has learned NOTHING about how to prevent another Pulse”

Wilson Cruz in 2022
Wilson Cruz (Photo: Shutterstock)

Actor Wilson Cruz is among those to react with anger and disappointment to the news that Florida’s Senate yesterday passed its controversial ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill.

Aimed at schools, HB 1557 seeks to ban the discussion of LGBTQ topics mainly at the primary grade level. However, it will also limit discussion when “not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students”. It’s now heading toward Governor Ron DeSantis’ deck for signing. DeSantis has indicated he supports the legislation.

Related: Wilson Cruz claps back at homophobic ‘Star Trek’ fan in bold, logical fashion

Cruz, famed for his role on Star Trek: Discovery, happened to be in Florida and visiting the Pulse memorial in Orlando when the news broke. He posted a video of himself at the memorial with Barbara Poma. The former owner of Pulse nightclub, Poma set up the onePulse Foundation in memory of the mass shooting which resulted in the deaths of 49 people in 2016.


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“I found myself at #PULSE today only a few minutes after the #Florida legislature passed its violent #DontSayGay bill and sent it to @flgovrondesantis to sign,” said Cruz in his video caption. “Almost 6 years after this national #lgbtqia tragedy, Florida has learned NOTHING about how to prevent another Pulse.”

He urged people to support the OnePulse Foundation to ensure people never forget what happened there.

In his video clip, Cruz said of the passing of the bill, “This memorial wouldn’t be necessary, the murders that happened here almost six years ago would not have happened, if we educated our children more, if we educated our population more, about LGBTQ issues and issues of people of color and civil rights in this country.

“And yet we find ourselves today in a state in which a legislature is denying this entire state’s children of its history, and we cause harm to kids and how they see themselves and how the community sees them. And some people even extrapolate that for the need of violence.

“So we sit here in Florida today looking at this memorial, remembering the people that we lost, but also wondering how we stop this from happening again, and I tell you what, this bill isn’t going to help it. So do what you can today, reach out to your legislator and tell them how evil and unnecessary and harmful this is, so we never have to see another Pulse happen again.”

Related: Wilson Cruz recalls the time dad kicked him out on Christmas Eve for being gay

Others have also denounced HB 1557, officially called the “Parental Rights in Education” bill.

“The Florida state legislature is playing a dangerous political game with the health and safety of LGBTQ+ kids,” said Cathryn M. Oakley, State Legislative Director and Senior Counsel at the Human Rights Campaign, in a statement. “The existence of LGBTQ+ people across Florida is not up for debate. We are proud parents, students, and teachers, and LGBTQ+ people deserve to exist boldly, just like everyone else.”

Another sci-fi legend, actor Mark Hammill (of Star Wars famed), reacted with a tweet repeating the word ‘gay’.

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona reacted to the bill with a blunt statement, suggesting the legislation may contravene civil rights protections against discrimination.

“Parents across the country are looking to national, state, and district leaders to support our nation’s students, help them recover from the pandemic, and provide them the academic and mental health supports they need.

“Instead, leaders in Florida are prioritizing hateful bills that hurt some of the students most in need.

“The Department of Education has made clear that all schools receiving federal funding must follow federal civil rights law, including Title IX’s protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

“We stand with our LGBTQ+ students in Florida and across the country, and urge Florida leaders to make sure all their students are protected and supported.