'SNL' Nails The Ridiculousness of the 'Don't Say Gay' Bill With A Poignant Message From Kate McKinnon

We need more stars to speak up for LGBTQIA+ youth and their families because Florida's hateful legislation is only causing harm.

Kate McKinnon on Weekend Update
Photo: Getty

Kate McKinnon joined Colin Jost on Weekend Update to comment on Florida's 'Don't Say Gay' Bill, HB1557, as it passed its final state Senate committee last week.

McKinnon sets up the segment with blissful ignorance, "I heard about this law, and I think it's amazing!" She spins to her middle school experience and the impact of hearing "that's so gay" or "ew, you're gay," exclaiming how wonderful it is that Ron Desantis has taken a stand to say "No, you cannot say gay in school anymore."

Many of us parents certainly remember school in the 1990s. Gay was the common term (and the nicer word choice with the alternative being the "f" slur) across the nation signifying anything seemingly uncool, lame, or gross. I attended an arts magnet school in Las Vegas, L.V.A. People across the city commonly referred to it as "LV-GAY." It was known for its "gayness," meaning gay kids chose to go there to limit the likelihood of being beaten up, bullied, or thrown into school dumpsters on any given day. It is not a time or a place I would wish upon our children.

That hasn't stopped DeSantis, who has backed this bill by defending that it is stopping "transgenderism from being injected into the classroom" as he rides the wave of anti-LGBTQIA+ and anti-trans youth legislation sweeping across the country. Currently, there are 18 bills similar to HB1557 moving through nine state legislatures, with Florida not even topping the charts of anti-trans rhetoric.

As McKinnon continued, "I'm so jazzed, and in Florida of all places," Jost informed the gay comedian and actor that actually, "the law means that you can't acknowledge that gay exists at all." The audience laughs as McKinnon transitions into a series of guttural "whats" as she physically processes the idea of going back to a time where the gay existence is legally erased.

While her talents at making us laugh through the tears are exceptional, what is important to remember is that these laws affect queer children's actual lives. In this bit, McKinnon did not refer to the state of Texas, where Governor Greg Abbott has just ordered a state agency to investigate and criminalize the parents of transgender children for providing gender-affirming medical care.

McKinnon segues into an understanding of the law, "I am deeply gay, sorry, concerned, deeply concerned. It just feels like this is going to make kids gay and trans, sorry, depressed, and suicidal. I think these laws are lesbians, sorry, unconscionable! unconscionable!"

Asking Jost what the point of this law is, she calls out, "So one kid can say 'I live with my parents', but another has to say 'I live in a house with two adult men who bought me when I was young?'"

"If the '90s were right, and gay means bad, then this is the gayest law I have ever seen."

With that understanding, the Florida bill doesn't stand alone with its "gayness." Texas has been at the forefront of anti-LGBTQIA+ and anti-trans laws with over 40 proposed bills in 2021 alone, targeting trans and nonbinary youth. This January, the state joined 10 others barring transgender students from playing on any sports teams with a different gender than what was assigned on their birth certificates. The Texas Children's Hospital paused all gender-affirming medical care after criminal conviction threats by Abbot, and Idaho and Alabama are swiftly moving for felony bans on health care as well.

The Trevor Project, the world's largest suicide prevention and mental health organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people, has reported 4,000 crisis calls from youth in Texas just in the past two months, as trans and nonbinary youth cite stress, depression, and suicidal ideation due to anti-trans laws being debated.

McKinnon signs off telling kids if they can't say gay, then they can sing it, and proceeds to riff on Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water." In the meantime, the Florida Senate will vote on HB1557 Monday, March 7, and if passed it will go into effect for the 2022/2023 school year. You can fight anti-trans legislation state by state by going here.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles