Students, teachers, and supporters from across Florida flocked to the state Capitol in Tallahassee on Monday ahead of a state Senate debate of the so-called \u0022Don\u0026#039;t Say Gay or Trans\u0022 bill opponents say will have \u0022devastating consequences\u0022 for LGBTQ+ youth.\r\n\r\n\u0022This bill is a gross attempt to erase, stigmatize, and marginalize the LGBTQ+ community.\u0022\r\n\r\nAs students and supporters chanted \u0022we say gay\u0022 in downtown Miami before boarding buses Sunday night for the eight-hour trip to the state capital, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava told WSVN that \u0022it\u0026#039;s shameful what\u0026#039;s going on in Tallahassee.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022So many ways that they are trying to take away our rights, our human rights,\u0022 added Cava, \u0022and these young people are getting on a bus and riding all night to tell them, \u0026#039;Enough is enough.\u0026#039;\u0022\r\n\r\nOutside the Capitol on Monday, student protester Maggie Zheng told an Orlando Sentinel reporter that \u0022America stands for freedom, at least it\u0026#039;s supposed to.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022This doesn\u0026#039;t feel free to me,\u0022 Zheng said of the bill. \u0022They are making laws against who we are.\u0022\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nDwayne Shepherd—a teacher and gay-straight alliance club sponsor at Pinellas Middle School in Pinellas Park—held up a sign one of his transgender students made for the trip that read, \u0022It\u0026#039;s okay to say gay!\u0022\r\n\r\nShepherd told the Tallahassee Democrat that LGBTQ+ students \u0022don\u0026#039;t want special rights. They just want equality.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022They want to be treated fairly, and they want to feel safe,\u0022 he added. \u0022And they will not feel safe if this bill passes.\u0022\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nAs Common Dreams reported last month, H.B. 1557 and its companion, S.B. 1834, would effectively ban teachers from discussing sexual orientation and gender identity in elementary school or at any level \u0022that is not age-appropriate,\u0022 an undefined term. The measure would also allow parents to sue schools who fail to adhere to the bill\u0026#039;s nebulous terms.\r\n\r\nThe bill passed the GOP-controlled state House last month by a vote of 69-47, with seven Republicans joining Democrats in voting against the measure. There are 24 Republicans and 15 Democrats in the state Senate, which is expected to vote on the bill this week.\r\n\r\nThe advocacy group MoveOn said Monday that \u0022this bill is a gross attempt to erase, stigmatize, and marginalize the LGBTQ+ community.\u0022\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nThe bill is supported by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, whose press secretary, Christina Pushaw, last week in a\u0026nbsp;tweet suggested that anyone who opposes the measure is a pedophile or a supporter of pedophilia.\r\n\r\nState Rep. Carlos Smith (D-49), Florida\u0026#039;s first LGBTQ\u0026nbsp;Latino legislator, said last month that if passed, the legislation \u0022will have devastating consequences for our youth.\u0022\r\n\r\nSmith (D-49) told protesters outside the Capitol building Monday that \u0022we will get up, stand up, wake up every single day to fight for you because your lives matter.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022While those senators walk onto the Senate floor, they need to look you in the eye first and see your humanity before they vote on this bill,\u0022 Smith added.\r\n\r\nAs students staged a sit-in inside the Capitol, one organizer read the names of LGBTQ youth who took their own lives after suffering bigotry and hatred.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nIn addition to the Tallahassee protest, many hundreds of students in Winter Park reprised last week\u0026#039;s statewide classroom walkouts over the bill.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nJack Petocz—a student at Flagler Palm Coast High School in Palm Coast and lead organizer of the walkouts—said he was suspended following last week\u0026#039;s demonstrations.\r\n\r\nIn a Sunday letter to DeSantis requesting a meeting with the governor, Petocz wrote that \u0022this legislation is damaging to LGBTQ+ youth across Florida.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022Restricting discussion of queer people and erasing our identity within public schools will only exacerbate the pre-existing issues that LGBTQ+ youth face, whether that be poverty, homelessness, or mental health,\u0022 he continued.\r\n\r\n\u0022Students should be able to unapologetically express their individuality and identity without fear of their elected leaders seeking to minimize our existence,\u0022 Petocz added.