Formula One’s Lewis Hamilton will wear a rainbow helmet in the Miami Grand Prix to protest Florida’s Parental Rights in Education law.
Hamilton, F1’s only black driver, regularly wears a rainbow helmet when racing in countries with controversial LGBT laws.
Speaking to the Associated Press, Hamilton compared Florida to Saudi Arabia, where same-sex sexual activity is illegal.
“I stand by those within the community here. I hope they continue to stand firm and push back. I’ll have the rainbow on my helmet. It’s no different to when we were in Saudi,” Hamilton said.
When asked about if he thinks F1 should boycott the state, Hamilton said that decision is not up to him.
“It’s not for me to decide something like that,” Hamilton said. “I did hear and have read about some of the decisions that have been made in government here and I do not agree with it and I do not support it. I really do continue to stand with the LGBTQ community and I’m wearing a rainbow flag on my helmet this weekend and I just really want to continue to support the community here and let them know I stand with them and I hope they continue to fight against it.”
“It’s not the people of Miami that are making these decisions, it’s the people in government and that’s the issue,” he added. “I think, hopefully, all I can do – the sport is going to be here whether I am or not – but the least I can do is just continue to be supportive and just being here and having that on my helmet, hopefully that speaks well to the subject.”
F1 drivers are prohibited from speaking about social justice issues at events.
The state legislature passed the original Parental Rights in Education bill, or HB 1557, in March 2022.
Under the policy, teachers cannot provide lessons on “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to elementary school-age children in third grade or younger. Teachers are prohibited from discussing the topics “in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.”
The law has been nicknamed “Don’t Say Gay” by opponents, despite the word “gay” not appearing in the text at all.
The law currently applies to public school instruction up to third grade, but under a new expansion ready to be signed by Governor Ron DeSantis, it will prohibit this type of instruction through eighth grade. It will now also include charter schools and private pre-kindergarten.
In addition to expanding the grades that the law applies to, the bill states that “it shall be the policy of every public K-12 educational institution that is provided or authorized by the Constitution and laws of Florida that a person’s sex is an immutable biological trait and that it is false to ascribe to a person a pronoun that does not correspond to such person’s sex.”
It will also make it easier to have age-inappropriate books removed from school library shelves.