Let Us Now Praise R. DeSantisNews at Home
tags: gender, satire, LGBTQ history, Ron DeSantis
Marc Stein is the director of OutHistory, the co-editor of Queer Pasts, and the Jamie and Phyllis Pasker Professor of History at San Francisco State University. He is the author most recently of Queer Public History: Essays on Scholarly Activism (University of California Press, 2022) and Rethinking the Gay and Lesbian Movement (2nd edition, Routledge, 2023).
R. DeSantis, Governor of Florida, speaks to an audience of persons in Tampa
I am such a fan! Thank you so much for putting an end to all references to gender and sexuality in Florida’s public schools. I can’t believe it’s taken this long to have a political leader take a stand against gender and sexuality!
No more references in social studies classes to Pocahontas and her husband John Rolfe in colonial Virginia! Our children do not need to know that John identified as a man. From now on we’ll teach our children about Pocahontas and their spouse J. Rolfe!
No more talk of George and Martha as the first U.S. president and his First Lady! We’ll instead tell our students about G. Washington, who was followed by J. Adams, who was influenced by their spouse A. Adams in the famous “Remember The Non-Gender-Specific People” letters. We can then refer to T. Jefferson, our third president, who apparently was devastated by the loss of their first spouse, but was comforted by their coworker S. Hemings. We’ll finally be able to teach our children that Washington, Adams, and Jefferson were three of our most important Founding Parents!
I can’t wait to find out how the new lesson plans will avoid all discussion of gender identities in our unit about the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention and its famous call to enfranchise people who were inexplicably denied the right to vote. And to tell you the truth, I thank my gender-free gods (or goddesses, or will we now be referring to them as godx?) that Florida will finally allow us to correct that terribly worded speech by S. Truth, which we will henceforth translate as “Am I Not A Person?”
Who could vote after the 19th Amendment was ratified? People, not women!
Who were the youth who fought for the United States in World War One? The dough-people!
Who kept the factories running during World War Two? R. the Riveter!
Who staffed the Federal Bureau of Investigation? G-People.
What patriotic organization said no to allowing M. Anderson to sing at Constitution Hall in 1939? Children of the American Revolution!
What really surprises and pleases me is that your law is finally going to do away with gender-segregated bathrooms in Florida’s public schools. No teacher should be telling my children which bathroom to use! No more teaching children about gender identity!
And those dreadful family tree projects! No more branches for fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, uncles, or aunts. We’re all relatives now!
And when you, R. DeSantis, are written up in future history textbooks, Florida’s children will be able to commemorate your fight against M. Mouse and D. Duck. You will be known around the world for insisting that parents, not teachers, should teach their children about rodent and avian genitalia.
All of this just leaves me with one question: how will the future teachers of Florida celebrate you for banning public school lessons about gender and sexuality if we can’t mention the unmentionable?