Greg Berlanti Calls Out Dont Say Gay Bills Vitriol; Compares Homophobia Level To The 1970s PGA Awards

On Saturday night, Greg Berlanti used his PGA acceptance speech as a platform to widely criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” legislation in Florida.

Accepting the Norman Lear Lifetime Achievement Award, Berlanti described how Lear’s work impacted his life and said his experience growing up gay in a distinctly homophobic environment is being paralleled again right now in some States.

“I think you have to understand what it was like to be ‘other’ in the ’70s or the early ’80s. I was a deeply closeted gay kid, and the kind of vitriol we’re seeing now so openly by members of the Florida legislature, or by the Governor of Texas about trans kids or gender non-conforming young people and their families, there was was that kind of homophobia, overt and casual in almost every corner or every room. And if the hate was flagrant, the representation on TV was almost non-existent.”

His comments came moments after Kathleen Kennedy also denounced the “don’t say gay” policy during the Awards show.

“I’m proud of whatever small part I’ve played in continuing Norman’s great legacy,” Berlanti said, “but it’s mixed with sadness, because I know how many trans and non-binary and queer kids are still having those sleepless nights. I desperately want the world to change for them, just like it did for me.”

Berlanti has consistently throughout his career produced stories that have busted through prejudice and heteronormative barriers. As his old friend Ryan Murphy, who presented Berlanti with the award, pointed out, Berlanti put the first same-sex kiss between two men on U.S. network television with Dawson’s Creek.

The “don’t say gay” bill has been at the center of criticism for Disney CEO Bob Chapek recently, since the company’s initial failure to denounce the bill, which quashes teaching and discussion about the LGBTQ+ community, sexual orientation and gender identity in the Florida public school system from kindergarten to the 3rd Grade.


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