A report shows that more than half of LGBTQ+ parents who live in Florida are considering packing up their families and moving out of the state.
Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and state legislators have launched an unprecedented and vicious campaign against LGBTQ+ rights and basic accommodations. The state recently passed a law that forbids teachers from mentioning sexual orientation or gender identity in schools. Classroom libraries are being closed until they can be “evaluated” and textbooks are being rewritten to remove queer people.
The Williams Institute, a public policy research institute based at the UCLA of Law, and Clark University in Massachusetts, found that 56 percent of surveyed parents were considering fleeing. Another 17 percent said they have already taken steps to move away.
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“I am terrified that I would need to make the decision to leave Florida and leave my parents,” one respondent said. “The idea of having to leave to protect my child and my partner is scary but one I am willing to do.”
DeSantis, widely expected to run for President in 2024, has used the demonization of people of color and queer folks as a cornerstone of his political career. He has gone to war with Disney, launched numerous blindsides attacking “woke indoctrination” in schools, and taken control of the state’s education system with handpicked administrators and the power of the bully pulpit. His staff has regularly smeared LGBTQ+ people and allies on social media with vile slurs and insinuations of sexual abuse.
“The Don’t Say Gay bill claims to be for parent rights, but my rights have been taken away since its passage,” one respondent said. “My right to send my daughter to school freely, my right to live without fear of who I am, my right to not be discriminated against based on my sexual orientation, and my daughter to not be discriminated against based on her parents’ sexual orientation.”
And the survey shows that LGBTQ+ families feel less safe after the law’s passage and DeSantis’ numerous attacks. Almost a quarter of respondents said they feared being harassed by their neighbors now and more than 20 percent said they had gone out in their community less often.