As the political climate heats up in Florida, LGBTQ+ advocacy groups advise the queer community to stay away from the state. Olivia Palamountain reports
Gay travellers looking to indulge in some rest and relaxation in Florida are advised to think again, as LGTBQ+ advocacy groups in America’s ‘sunshine state’ have taken action to warn people away from visiting.
“If you decide on travel to Florida, make a clear safety plan,” a new website promoting the travel advisory reads, while Equality Florida published a press release on April 13, saying: “Today, Equality Florida took the extraordinary step of issuing a travel advisory, warning of the risks posed to the health, safety, and freedom of those considering short or long term travel, or relocation to the state.
“The move comes in response to a wave of safety inquiries Equality Florida has received following the passage of laws that are hostile to the LGBTQ community, restrict access to reproductive health care, repeal gun safety laws, foment racial prejudice, and attack public education by banning books and censoring curriculum,” the Equality Florida release continued.
A number of bills targeting the queer community during the current legislative session are contributing to a unsafe political climate, including the Parental Rights in Education bill (dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by opponents).
As reported by CNBC, the above measure, which takes effect July 1, prohibits classroom instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity in “kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.”
Similar bills are being considered in 19 other states, according to the Movement Advancement Project, an LGBTQ think tank that has been tracking the bills.
In all, six anti-LGBTQ bills were passed and nearly all have been signed by Governor DeSantis, says Equity Florida.
“While not a blanket recommendation against travel nor a call for boycott, the travel advisory outlines the devastating impacts of laws that are hostile to the LGBTQ community, restrict access to reproductive health care, repeal gun safety policies, foment racial prejudice, and attack public education by banning books and censoring curriculum in order that prospective travelers or residents can make the best decisions for themselves and their families.”
As reported by The Independent, in addition to Equality Florida, the Florida Immigrant Coalition also issued a warning to immigrants and people of colour that travel in the state should be undertaken with “extreme caution.”