LGBTQ group deals Florida travel advisory, joins list of others that have done so


Austin Lloyd, Staff Writer

The political division that has been engulfing the state of Florida just struck again, this time through the hands of the LGBTQ community.

Equality Florida, a social group advocating for the rights of LGBTQ people, has issued a travel advisory on the state. Its decision comes as a response to the promotion of laws that the group feels are threatening to both their causes and the safety of Americans.

The group referenced multiple reasons as to why it views the advisory as necessary, but they do not apply solely to the LGBTQ crowd. Rather, their worries reach potential residents of all kinds.

The intention is to shed light on what is in fact a very diverse array of state matters. According to the official Equality Florida website, said matters include laws that are deemed hostile by the LGBTQ community, are harmful to reproductive rights, neglect gun safety, encourage racial prejudice, and/or limit public education.

While the act of issuing an advisory could be seen by some as only driving discourse further, the group has openly expressed that the last thing it would normally want is to turn visitors away; it simply feels as if doing so is currently the safest course of action for those who share the same concerns.

A statement by Equality Florida Executive Director Nadine Smith was released within the website’s announcement, as it addressed just how upsetting the nature of the advisory is for the group itself.

“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,” she said. “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. We understand everyone must weigh the risks and decide what is best for their safety, but whether you stay away, leave or remain, we ask that you join us in countering these relentless attacks.”

Despite both the attention that these actions receive and the polarizing reactions that can come from them, this is not the first time that Florida has been handed a travel advisory. Just last month, the NAACP Florida Chapter proposed its own advisory in response to Gov. Ron DeSantis suppressing African-American curriculum in the state’s educational system.

Gov. DeSantis didn’t take the idea of a travel advisory seriously then and, based on a recent statement through one of his spokespersons, he seemingly doesn’t now.

“We aren’t going to waste our time worrying about political stunts,” he said. “We will continue doing what is right for Floridians.”

According to ABC News, there are multiple LGBTQ-related events coming up in the state. How Equality Florida’s advisory will impact the attendance of such events remains to be seen.