New Poster Campaign Welcomes DeSantis Florida Visitors: ‘State ‘Don’t Say Gay Or Trans”

washington d.c. – Visitors to Tallahassee, Tampa, Orlando and South Florida are being greeted this week by new billboards welcoming them to “Florida: The Sunshine ‘Don’t Say Gay or Trans’ State.” The billboards, which are placed in key areas of the state with high visitor traffic and visibility, including near airports and along major interstate highways, are part of a new advertising campaign launched by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the largest LGBTQ+ community in the country. civil rights organization. The billboards will raise awareness about how Florida’s image has been irreversibly damaged by the new ‘Don’t Say Gay or Trans’ law, which is designed to prevent teachers from talking about LGBTQ issues or people. + – further stigmatizing and isolating LGBTQ+ children and also undermining existing protections for LGBTQ+ students, as well as Governor DeSantis’ Department of Health decision yesterday to issue a statement attacking established standards of child-friendly care age, medically necessary and often life-saving for transgender youth.

“Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay or Trans’ law is outrageous and discriminatory. It should be repealed immediately. This poster campaign is designed to get people to face up to what this terrible law actually does: censor and silence educators and isolate LGBTQ+ students and their families,” said Joni Madison, Acting Chair of the Human Rights Campaign. “Florida can’t be considered the ‘Sunshine State’ when Governor Ron DeSantis is putting so many of his constituents at risk. Governor DeSantis can try to tell teachers what they can teach, can try to tell kids what they can read, and can try to tell students what they can learn – but he can’t tell people. LGBTQ+ who we can be. LGBTQ+ people are teachers, parents and, yes, students too – and we will keep fighting until this law is removed.

Billboard locations for the campaign, which will run for the next four weeks and also includes online digital advertisements, include:

TAMPA – A bulletin board went live on April 19

TALAHASSEE — Three billboards went live on April 20

ORLANDO AREA– Three billboards go live today, April 21

Additionally, HRC plans to launch more billboards in the coming days in South Florida.

According to Public Opinion Research Lab (PORL) at the University of North Florida, 49% of Floridians opposed the legislation while only 40% supported it. Opposition to the bill is even stronger among younger populations. A majority of Floridians between the ages of 18 and 24 — recent high school graduates — disapproved of efforts to erase LGBTQ+ people from classrooms.

Strong opposition to discriminatory attacks against the LGBTQ+ population

Nationally, support for anti-discrimination protections is the highest ever, overall and across state, religious affiliation, and party membership: According to a recent PRRI reportabout eight in ten Americans (79%) support laws that would protect LGBTQ+ people from discrimination in jobs, public accommodations and housing. This reflects an 11% increase in the proportion of Americans who support anti-discrimination protections since 2015 (71%).

The PRRI study also shows that legislation like the ‘Don’t Say Gay or Trans’ bill is unlikely to garner support from state residents – 80% of Floridians support protections against discriminationand 66% of Floridians oppose denial of service on religious grounds.

The country’s leading child health and wellness groupsrepresenting more than 7 million youth-serving professionals and more than 1,000 child protection organizationsrecently released an open letter calling on state lawmakers across the country to oppose dozens of bills targeting LGBTQ+ people, and transgender children in particular.

Nearly 200 major American companies have stood up and spoken out in opposition to proposed anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in states across the country. Companies like Amazon, American Airlines, Apple, Airbnb, Disney, Dell, Dow, Google, IBM, Marriott, Microsoft, Nike and Wells Fargo opposed state anti-LGBTQ+ legislation. Apple CEO Tim Cook clearly indicated that he stands with LGBTQ+ youth harmed by laws like HB 1557. Over 60 companies set a record earlier this month with a ad placed in the Dallas Morning News calling on public leaders to abandon efforts to enshrine discrimination in law and policy. Apple, Capital One, Google, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Meta, Microsoft, Salesforce and Unilever were among more than 60 companies that joined the announcement. Just a few weeks ago, Rosanna Durruthy, Vice President, Global Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging at LinkedIn, called on the LinkedIn community to stand up for LGBTQ+ families and their right to make decisions to support their loved ones.

Four of America’s largest food companies also condemned “dangerous and discriminatory legislation that serves as an attack on LGBTQ+ people, especially transgender and non-binary people,” and the The Walton Family Foundation released a statement expressing “alarm” at the trend of anti-transgender legislation that recently became law in Arkansas.

Legislative attacks against LGBTQ+ people

The signing of the “Don’t Say Gay or Trans” bill comes at a time when officials across the state Texas attempted to criminalize transitional care for minorsand lawmakers Alabama are about to to pass laws do it too. Iowa recently became the first state in the nation to enact statewide anti-discrimination protections that include LGBTQ+ people backtrack prohibiting transgender women and girls from participating in sports consistent with their gender identity. And in South DakotaGovernor Noem proclaimed that he “makes me sadto hear about the high rates of depression among LGBTQ+ people in his state – just days after signing the first anti-trans bill of 2022 in the law.

Just three months into the year, HRC is tracking more than 583 potentially LGBTQ+-related pieces of legislation introduced in the 2022 state legislative session. Of those, at least 313 are classified as harmful to the LGBTQ+ communityand 137+ are specifically anti-transgender bills.

While the sponsors of these bills make misleading claims about what their bills will do, their own statements and those of their followers reveal their true intentions. Governor DeSantis own press officeras well as advisers and staff members of the Republican governors of Texas and South Dakotaand a bill sponsor in Iowato have made hateful comments this year exposing that these bills are more about prejudice against transgender people than any real political position.

A coordinated national effort to scare Monger and marginalize LGBTQ+ people

Groups like the Heritage Foundation, Alliance Defending Freedom, Eagle Forum and others are leading this effort, seeking to use LGBTQ+ rights as a political wedge.

These bills are the result of a concerted effort by right-wing organizations that have been fighting LGBTQ+ advances for years. In recent elections, one of the main anti-equality groups working to roll back decades of LGBTQ+ progress has been the American Principles Project (APP). APP and its chief underwriter Sam Fieler have invested millions of dollars to support anti-LGBTQ+ contestants. In 2020, APP spent more than $2.6 million in ad spend to support anti-equality candidates. In Virginia in 2021, APP spent at least $300,000 on digital advertising in support of Glenn Youngkin’s gubernatorial campaign.

Restoration PAC, run and funded by leading anti-LGBTQ+ financier Dick Uihlein, spent at least $1.9 million on advertising across Virginia in support of Youngkin and donated $942,000 to the political wing of anti-abortion group Women Speak Out Virginia. Anti-equality group Free to Learn Action launched a million-dollar ad campaign spreading widely debunked anti-transgender misinformation in support of Youngkin’s campaign.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working for equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ+ people are considered full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

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