Florida’s largest LGBTQ advocacy group and immigrant rights group have both issued a travel advisory for the state of Florida following recent bills that have been passed and proposed by the state legislature.
Equality Florida and the Florida Immigrant Coalition — which says it has more than 65 member organizations and more than 100 allies — have warned their constituents to reconsider travel or relocation to Florida over concerns about health, safety, and freedom.
“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,” Nadine Smith, Equality Florida Executive Director, said in a statement.
“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,” Smith added. “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.”
Florida came into the crosshairs of LGBTQ activists last year after Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law HB 1557, a Parental Rights in Education bill, which, among other things, prohibits classroom instruction on gender ideology and sexual orientation from kindergarten through third grade.
Critics have labeled the legislation the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
Additionally, roughly a month before the travel advisory was issued, Florida’s measure to prohibit minors from using puberty blockers, hormone therapies, or receiving surgeries to change their sex went into effect.
Florida legislators are also proposing a sweeping legislative package that many are considering the toughest crackdown in years on illegal migration.
According to the New York Times, “The bills would expose people to felony charges for sheltering, hiring and transporting undocumented immigrants; require hospitals to ask patients their immigration status and report to the state; invalidate out-of-state driver’s licenses issued to undocumented immigrants; prevent undocumented immigrants from being admitted to the bar in Florida; and direct the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to provide assistance to federal authorities in enforcing the nation’s immigration laws.”
Florida officials have responded to the travel advisory, calling it a stunt.
“We aren’t going to waste our time worrying about political stunts,” a spokesman for DeSantis’ office told ABC News. “We will continue doing what is right for Floridians.”