Responding to “Don’t Say Gay” Laws in the US: Research Priorities and Considerations for Health Equity

Nolan S. Kline, Stacey B. Griner, Malinee Neelamegam, Nathaniel J. Webb, Joél Junior Morales, Scott D. Rhodes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Introduction: Despite increased legal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer-identifying (LGBTQ +) people in the USA over the past 30 years, there has been an increasing number of anti-LGBTQ + laws proposed and passed at the state level. One of the most notorious laws, Florida’s HB 1557, also known as the “Don’t Say Gay” law, garnered substantial national attention for prohibiting discussions of sexual orientation or gender identity in public school classrooms. Other states quickly proposed similar laws, but little scholarship exists on the potential impacts of these laws. Methods: We explore the potential health equity ramifications of laws like Florida’s HB 1557, focusing on the individual, interpersonal, and broader policy and practice implications. Examining these policies through the lens of political determinants of health, we identify theoretical and methodological approaches needed to address recent “Don’t Say Gay” policies. Results: Theoretical approaches emphasizing power, intersectionality, and the role of politics in health should guide research examining the impacts of recent anti-LGBTQ + policies. Laws like Florida’s HB 1557 emphasize the need for methodological approaches that emphasize collaborative engagement between researchers and community members, and future research may be needed to understand how stressors created by law and policy can have individual and interpersonal consequences. Conclusions: Public health researchers have a role to play in reversing policies that negatively affect LGBTQ + individuals and undermine health equity. Research combating harmful policies may require theoretical approaches attentive to power differences and methodological approaches that squarely focus on disrupting power imbalances.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1397-1402
Number of pages6
JournalSexuality Research and Social Policy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Gender identity
  • Health disparities
  • Public policy and advocacy
  • Sexual and gender minorities
  • Sexual orientation


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