Top LGBTQ Organization: 'Florida may not be a safe place to move or visit'
A top LGBTQ equal rights organization has issued an extensive and wide-ranging travel advisory for anyone considering moving or traveling to Florida.
Calling it an “unprecedented step,” Equality Florida says their travel advisory “comes after passage of laws that are hostile to the LGBTQ+ community, restrict access to reproductive health care, repeal gun safety laws and allow untrained, unpermitted carry, and foment racial prejudice.”
Equality Florida also warns that Republican Governor Ron DeSantis has “weaponized state agencies to impose sanctions against businesses large and small that disagree with his attacks on diversity, equity, and inclusion.”
The advisory notes that “Florida has recently adopted a slate of hateful laws, and is fast-tracking additional measures that directly target the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals and basic freedoms broadly. Already, those policies have led Florida parents to consider relocating, prospective students to cross Florida colleges and universities off their lists, events and conferences to cancel future gatherings, and the United States military to offer redeployment for service members whose families are now unsafe in the state.”
Nadine Smith, Equality Florida’s co-founder and executive director adds, “As an organization that has spent decades working to improve Florida’s reputation as a welcoming and inclusive place to live work and visit, it is with great sadness that we must respond to those asking if it is safe to travel to Florida or remain in the state as the laws strip away basic rights and freedoms.”
“While losing conferences, and top students who have written off Florida threatens lasting damage to our state, it is most heartbreaking to hear from parents who are selling their homes and moving because school censorship, book bans and health care restrictions have made their home state less safe for their children.”
The travel advisory provides extensive detail and examples across multiple areas including: Assaults on Medical Freedom, Assaults on Academic Freedom, Censorship and Erasure of the LGBTQ Community, Assaults on Arts, Entertainment, and Sports Participation, Assaults on Business, Efforts to Foment Racial Prejudice, Repealing of Gun Safety Laws, and Attacks on Immigrant Communities.
In response, WFTV reports Bryan Griffin, press secretary to Governor DeSantis, called the advisory a “political stunt.”
The Tallahassee Democrat reports Florida’s “Republican lawmakers have filed at least 18 bills that directly or indirectly target transgender Floridians and in some cases the broader LGBTQ community,” and cites “counts maintained by advocates.”
The newspaper also notes Equality Florida’s warning comes “days after Rep. Webster Barnaby, R-Deltona, compared transgender people to ‘mutants’, ‘demons’ and ‘imps,’during discussion of legislation that requires people to use public restrooms that correspond with their sex assigned at birth. It would effectively bar transgender people from facilities that match their gender identity. It also came a day after Senate lawmakers voted to amp up regulations on drag shows, something advocates fear could impact Pride festivals.”
Florida NAACP members last month “unanimously voted to ask the group’s national board to issue a travel advisory,” which Gov. DeSantis at the time labeled a “joke.”
Equality Florida notes that the “Florida Immigrant Coalition, a statewide immigrant rights coalition of 65 member organizations and over 100 allies, also issued a travel advisory today.”
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