Date of Award
Master of Arts in Social Sciences and Globalization
First Reader/Committee Chair
American society teaches the narrative that the law is preeminently fair and just. The law is not now and never has been a bulwark for the rights of the marginalized, voiceless, or those who remain powerless. Instead, states effectively wield law to alter the social meaning behind thought patterns and behavior—whether through the writing of new laws, passing of new laws, or the disregarding of current laws—to mobilize a large population to accept a group as different or other. Florida’s 2022 “Don’t Say Gay” law is an example of that method aimed at the LGBTQ+ community and part of a larger, recent trend. Legislation that inhibits the rights of a group of people tell a society that this now marginalized group is outside of societal norms; effectively stipulating that this group is different and thus is deserving of different treatment which leads to increased hate, discrimination, and violence. I worked to find and catalog authored state bills from 2016 to 2021 which would negatively impact and restrict the rights and lives of LGBTQ+ individuals and found that states created at least 940. In the same period there has been an escalation in violence perpetuated against this community, which suggests these laws are establishing that equality for, tolerance of, or acceptance for the LGBTQ+ community are unpopular opinions. Law is productive, assigning legitimacy and authority to values with the goal of teaching mainstream America what is morally acceptable—and these laws clearly state that is not the LGBTQ+ community.
Hartman, Christina, "Don't Say Gay: How Laws are Tools for Hate, Discrimination, and Violence" (2023). Electronic Theses, Projects, and Dissertations. 1572.