Tennis star Coco Gauff attacks Florida law that marginalizes LGBTQ+ people | Coco Gauff

Tennis star Coco Gauff has spoken out against a bill in her home state of Florida that would ban classroom discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity for many young students.

“I’m against it,” Gauff told reporters Wednesday in California, where she’s preparing for the Indian Wells tournament. “I think these conversations are important, and for me, having friends in the LGBTQ+ community, I couldn’t imagine not being able to talk about your identity. I feel like that’s something normal. »

Florida’s measure, referred to by its opponents as the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, has sparked national controversy amid an increasingly partisan debate over what schools should teach children about race and sex.

“All [LGBTQ+] no one I know knows they’ve been part of this community since they were young,” Gauff, 17, said. “I think it’s important that they have these conversations at school because it’s supposed to be a safe space to talk about anything.”

Republican-backed legislation, officially called the ‘Parental Rights in Education’ bill, prohibits classroom instruction in public schools about sexual orientation or gender identity for kindergarten children to third grade, or for those nine and under.

Democrats say such policies will hurt the LGBTQ+ community.

Gauff rose to prominence at the age of 15 when she beat Venus Williams at Wimbledon in 2019. She is currently ranked No. 19 in the world.

She said she saw parallels between the Florida bill and the fight for racial justice, another issue she is passionate about.

“I think it was in 2019 or 2020 when I talked about the Black Lives Matter movement — I said it was important to have those conversations,” Gauff said. “Same position on this. I think it’s important to have those tough conversations, and from people I’ve spoken to who are part of the community, it definitely makes a difference when you don’t have to hide who you are.

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