After spending the last year attacking LGBTQ people, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) claimed that the state “will not tolerate hatred towards the LGBTQ” community “of any kind” as part of his proclamation on the anniversary of the Pulse shooting.
On June 12, 2016, 49 people were killed and 53 people were injured when a gunman opened fire on the LGBTQ nightclub in Orlando. June 12 has remained Pulse Remembrance Day in the state. DeSantis ordered flags in the state to be flown at half-mast.
“The state of Florida will not tolerate hatred towards the LGBTQ and Hispanic community of any kind, and together we stand united against terrorism and hate of any kind,” DeSantis’s proclamation for the day reads, calling the shooting “one of the darkest moments in our state’s history.”
DeSantis’s record, though, shows that he doesn’t just tolerate hatred of LGBTQ people but that he is willing to parrot made-up stories designed to make LGBTQ people look like they’re a threat to children and then legislate based on his antipathy towards LGBTQ people.
Earlier this year, DeSantis signed the state’s Don’t Say Gay bill, which bans discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity in younger grades and requires them to be “developmentally appropriate” in older grades. Instead of defining those terms, the bill allows parents to sue schools if they believe the law was violated. LGBTQ advocates have warned that the bill will make life harder for LGBTQ youth and could increase the suicide rate.
To support the legislation, DeSantis repeatedly told a fake story about a school that forcibly transitioned a child.
“Some people in the school had decided that the daughter was really a boy and not a girl, so they changed the girl’s name to a boy’s name, had her dress like a boy and on doing all this stuff, without telling the mother or getting consent from the mother,” he said at an event in March.
The story isn’t true, though; the kid’s mother had contacted the school to inform them that the child was transitioning, and the school followed district policy on how to handle that.
DeSantis also declared a cisgender woman the winner of a college swimming competition in a proclamation just because he didn’t like the fact that the real winner was transgender. This came less than a year after he signed a bill banning transgender girls and women from participating in school sports in his state, denying them educational opportunities equal to their cisgender counterparts.
Most recently, DeSantis said that he wanted to look into using child protective statutes to investigate parents who allow their children to see drag queens.
“You had these very young kids, and they must have been like 9, 10 years old, at a quote, ‘drag show,’ where they were putting money in the underwear of this — and that is totally inappropriate. That is not something that children should be exposed to,” he said last week.
But when pressed for even one example of this happening anywhere, his press secretary Christina Pushaw tweeted a picture of a straight, cisgender burlesque performer and said that she was a drag queen. That’s the same Christina Pushaw who said earlier this year that anyone who doesn’t support the state’s Don’t Say Gay bill is “probably a groomer or at least you don’t denounce the grooming of 4-8 year old children. Silence is complicity.” “Grooming” describes some of the techniques used by child sex abusers.
DeSantis’s attacks on LGBTQ people this year have led to at least two lawsuits against the state and could saddle taxpayers with a billion dollars in debt after he and the Republican legislature dissolved a self-governance agreement the state had with Disney World because Disney spoke out against the Don’t Say Gay law.
Because DeSantis hasn’t apologized for any of his numerous attacks on LGBTQ people nor has he held his hateful press secretary accountable, people called him out on Twitter for lowering flags to half-mast for the Pulse anniversary.
So after promoting anti-gay laws and rhetoric while punishing those who opposed his LGBT reign of terror, Florida Governor DeSantis flew flags at half mast to honor the victims of the Pulse nightclub murders.
This was as sincere as David Duke observing Holocaust Remembrance Day.
— Victor Laszlo (@Impolitics) June 13, 2022
Today Florida Gov. @RonDeSantisFL ordered flags in Florida to be flown at half-staff in honour of the Pulse Nightclub mass shooting. Fuck you DeSantis. Your actions against LGBTQIA+ are so loud we can’t hear what you’re saying. #PulseRemembranceDay https://t.co/rRxXqW1llQ
— Stand with Ukraine 🇳🇿🏳️🌈 🇺🇦 (@ErinTalia1964) June 12, 2022
DeSantis, saying there's no room for hate, has ordered flags at half mast for the 6th anniversary of Pulse massacre. I don't even know where to begin with this hypocrisy. Guess you can erase LGBTQ people in schools. Just don't erase them with guns?
— Ken Harvey (@kenharvey27) June 11, 2022
DeSantis says "Never again" as he orders flags to half-mast in remembrance of the Pulse massacre, and signs a "Don't Say Gay" bill into law, reminding Florida's armed RWNJs that gay people are sick and evil and should not be tolerated. smh
— Are we there yet? 🇺🇦 (@RB_Showman) June 12, 2022
Someone just pointed out that it’s the anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting.
My immediate thought: DeSantis better not say a got damn thing today
— Says Random Ass Shit 🌙🌴 🚩🏴 (@sc_commieclique) June 12, 2022