Uju Anya, Ph.D., is a professor of second language acquisition at Carnegie Mellon University’s Department of Modern Languages. She researches applied linguistics, critical sociolinguistics, and critical discourse studies through the lenses of race, gender, sexual, and social class identities, according to her website. And in just 45 words, she exposed the hypocrisy of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law and other legislation of its ilk.
Here’s Anya’s tweet from last summer, a tweet that recently got heat on Reddit’s r/lgbt forum after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the so-called “Parental Rights in Education” bill into law last month.
Anya tweeted that argument in June, before Florida’s bill was filed but after lawmakers other states pushed for similar measures. (We’ve been covering Don’t Say Gay bills here on Queerty for more than a decade now, sadly.)
As our new favorite college professor points out, though, efforts to mute discussions of sexuality in the classroom are really just efforts to mute discussions of non-straight sexualities.
“When you say sexual orientation is too mature a topic for children, what you really mean is homosexuality,” Anya explained in follow-up tweets. “Cuz you talk to kids about heterosexuality from birth. You put ‘heartbreaker’ and ‘ladies’ man’ onesies on baby boys and ask about their ‘little girlfriend’ in preschool … So don’t say sexual orientation is private or an adult topic. You publicly announce daily you’re in heterosexual relationships with the assumption of your heterosexual orientation saying ‘my’ boyfriend, wife, husband, posting pics, etc. And you do it around children.”
Then comes Anya’s kicker: “The minute we mention any sexual orientation that isn’t the heterosexuality shoved in our faces every day, the talk immediately becomes inappropriate. Or ‘Nobody cares you’re gay!’ Well, nobody cares you’re f—king Bob either, Susan, but we still liked his picture on your desk.”