Andy Cohen is addressing a Florida bill prohibiting primary schools from discussing sexual orientation or gender identity with students in kindergarten through third grade.
Cohen, who is gay and a father, slammed Florida Republicans on Tuesday’s “Watch What Happens Live,” for “pretending to solve a problem that doesn’t exist.”
“There is not a mass conspiracy of kindergarten teachers who are plotting to teach children to be gay,” the Bravo host said. “This is one big dog whistle. You’re scaring people into spewing hate and discrimination at the LGBTQ community.”
Cohen lives in New York. But the star questioned how his 3-year-old son Benjamin would be treated in a Florida classroom.
“While the words ‘don’t say gay’ don’t explicitly appear in the bill, as a gay parent, I’m concerned that its deliberately vague language leaves room for it to be interpreted that way,” he explained. “Like, if my son went to school and talked about his gay dad during class and the teacher engaged, under your vague, hateful law, that can be considered illegal?”
During the segment, Cohen also called out supporters of the legislation, who he said “have spread so much misinformation, like suggesting only ‘groomers’ would oppose it.”
“You can’t groom someone to be gay,” Cohen noted. “You’re born gay.”
He ended the show, by pointing out that school is meant to educate kids and “prepare them for the real world.”
“Well, newsflash, the real world has gay people in it,” Cohen said. “It has people of all different gender identities. You can draft all the homophobic and transphobic bills you want, you’re not going to erase us. I just wonder how many children and families need to suffer before our politicians figure that out.”
Rep. Joe Harding, a Republican, has said the legislation is about “empowering parents.”
“Creating boundaries at an early age of what is appropriate in our schools, when we are funding our schools, is not hate,” he said on the Florida House floor in February. “It’s actually providing boundaries, and it’s fair to our teachers and our school districts to know what we expect.”
Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, a Democrat who is gay, believes it could have dangerous implications for LGBTQ youth.
“We are in distress because this bill is yet another attack on our community,” Guillermo Smith said on the Florida House floor last month. “This bill goes way beyond the text on its page. It sends a terrible message to our youth that there is something so wrong, so inappropriate, so dangerous about this topic that we have to censor it from classroom instruction.”