By GLAAD | August 1, 2022
VIDEO: FAMILIES AND TEACHERS SPEAK OUT ABOUT IMPACT OF ANTI-LGBTQ LAWS NOW IN EFFECT AND AS STUDENTS GO BACK TO SCHOOL IN FLORIDA
“Florida’s LGBTQ and ally voters have grave concerns about their basic human rights, including access to abortion, freedom of speech, and evidence-based healthcare for LGBTQ youth. They’re motivated to make a difference in this crucial election. Voters must send an unmistakable message to lawmakers that LGBTQ people and our allies are not going back in the closet or back in time. This discriminatory, defamatory and dangerous rhetoric and behavior must stop now.”
A new poll commissioned by GLAAD reveals broad concerns of LGBTQ and ally voters in Florida about legislation stripping away their rights, and how it’s motivating them to vote in this fall’s midterm election. LGBTQ and ally voters are poised to make a decisive difference in the future of their state.
77% strongly agree it’s more important than ever to vote this year because “basic human rights for women and LGBTQ Floridians are starting to be taken away by elected officials currently in charge of Florida’s government.”
Florida’s legislature has passed bills targeting abortion access and banning LGBTQ-related conversation in schools (the “Don’t Say LGBTQ” bill). When measures failed in the legislature to criminalize evidence-based, lifesaving healthcare for transgender youth, Governor Ron DeSantis directed state agencies to issue misinformation to target transgender people and begin the process of stripping Medicaid coverage for gender-affirming care, despite the fact that it is supported by every major medical association. Gov. DeSantis and his appointees have threatened small business owners that host drag shows, and schools that enforce federal protections for LGBTQ students under Title IX, prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
The governor’s race in Florida in 2018 was decided by only 32,463 votes out of 8+ million. The results of the poll suggest that LGBTQ and ally voters are positioned to be decisive in Florida this November if the governor’s race is similarly close.
77% of LGBTQ and ally voters have an unfavorable opinion of Gov. DeSantis.
GLAAD’s poll found 67% of LGBTQ and ally voters in Florida are “extremely motivated” to vote in the 2022 election.
58% of LGBTQ and ally voters are even more motivated to vote in 2022 than they were in 2020.
The top issues voters want candidates in Florida to address are: restoring abortion rights (47%), reforms for gun safety (31%), high housing costs and inflation (22% each), and protecting LGBTQ equality (19%).
“Florida’s LGBTQ voters and ally voters have grave concerns about their basic human rights, including access to abortion, freedom of speech, and evidence-based healthcare for LGBTQ youth,” said GLAAD President and CEO, Sarah Kate Ellis. “They’re motivated to make a difference in this crucial election.”
“The stakes are as high as ever: our civil liberties, the progress we’ve won, and our very democracy are on the line,” said Equality Florida Press Secretary, Brandon Wolf.
“It is imperative that Floridians use the power of their votes to hold Governor DeSantis and his right-wing allies accountable for the hate and bigotry they have unleashed on our state.”
71% of those polled say laws like “Don’t Say Gay/Trans” are designed to attack LGBTQ people.
70% strongly agree that the bills will be emotionally damaging to LGBTQ children and parents.
“All voters must use their voices in the upcoming election to speak out against baseless bills and hold leaders accountable to misinformation that endangers children,” Ellis said.
GLAAD spoke with LGBTQ families and teachers in Florida about the impact of the bills as students and teachers go back to school.
“[The Don’t Say LGBTQ law] is a solution to a problem that does not exist,” said kindergarten teacher Cory Berneart.
“The fear that I have now is am I going to be able to have the pictures of my partner and I up outside of my classroom?
Because that’s how we build community with my student who has two moms. Is she going to be able to talk about her moms? Are these discussions going to be labeled as instruction, which the bill says is illegal?”
“It’s fear mongering,” said Equality Florida’s Director of Transgender Equality, Nikole Parker.
“Nobody is having these conversations in Kindergarten through grade three. This is just simply not happening.”
What is happening: rainbow flags and LGBTQ-inclusive books are already being removed from classrooms.Trans students are banned from school sports. And gender-affirming healthcare is on the chopping block, despite objection from every accredited medical association
Families of transgender children say their kids just want to be kids, yet they’re increasingly under attack.
“They’re taking these rights away slowly and they’re just kind of seeing what they can do little by little,” said Dennis Jara, father of a transgender 10-year-old. “As these things pass and as they pass in other states, they’re getting even bolder and going even harder at these children, children, you know, these are kids.”
At least 225 bills targeting LGBTQ people were introduced in 2022, more than half of them restricting transgender youth from lifesaving, evidence-based healthcare, school sports, the bathroom and classroom conversation. 10 anti-LGBTQ laws went into effect earlier this month, all of them related to education.
“Voters must send an unmistakable message to lawmakers that LGBTQ people and our allies are not going back in the closet or back in time,” GLAAD’s Sarah Kate Ellis said.
“This discriminatory, defamatory and dangerous rhetoric and behavior must stop now.”
67% say Florida-based companies have a moral obligation to speak out against anti-LGBTQ laws.
An estimated 4.6% of Floridians are LGBTQ and 24% of LGBTQ people in Florida are raising children. The state ranks 3rd in the nation with the most same sex couples, behind New York and California.
The GLAAD Florida LGBTQ and Ally Voters Poll was conducted by Pathfinder Opinion Research from July 5-12. Read the pollster memo here.