TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A Florida teacher claims to have lost their job for using a gender-neutral title, Mx., according to a report from the Orlando Sentinel.
AV Vary, who identifies as non-binary, provided a letter to the Orlando Sentinel, in which Florida Virtual School said only Ms., Mrs., and Miss were acceptable. She was fired last week from the online-only public school.
The Orlando Sentinel reported that Vary sees Florida’s new law regarding sexual orientation and gender identity in schools — called “don’t say gay” by critics — as unconstitutional and has contacted attorneys.
Vary also filed a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and wants to challenge the law, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
“As a Florida public school, FLVS is obligated to follow Florida laws and regulations pertaining to public education,” a district spokesperson said in a statement to WFLA. “This includes laws such as section 1000.071(3) of the Florida Statutes pertaining to the use of Personal Titles and Pronouns within Florida’s public school system.”
Opponents of the law say banning lessons about gender identity and sexual orientation marginalizes LGBTQ people and their presence in society.
In that vein, they have labeled the measure the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. Republicans have chafed at that phrasing, chiding advocacy groups and news outlets that have used it.
Critics of the law say its language — “classroom instruction,” “age appropriate” and “developmentally appropriate” — is overly broad and subject to interpretation. Consequently, teachers might opt to avoid the subjects entirely at all grade levels for fear of being sued, they say.
The law was initially aimed at kindergarten through third grade, but was expanded this year to include grades four through eight as well.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.