Nonprofit organization and LGBTQ+ advocacy group Equality Florida Wednesday issued a travel warning for LGBTQ+ people thinking of traveling or relocating to Florida. The warning was released following an increase in anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in Florida, such as HB 1557, which restricts the education and discussion of sexual and gender identity in public schools.
The travel warning begins by highlighting how unprecedented issuing a travel warning is in the United States, stating:
Equality Florida took the unprecedented step of issuing a travel advisory to individuals, families, entrepreneurs, and students warning that Florida may not be a safe place to visit or take up residence. The advisory comes after passage of laws that are hostile to the LGBTQ+ community, restrict access to reproductive health care, repeal gun safety laws and allow untrained, unpermitted carry, and foment racial prejudice.
The travel warning continues by urging professionals, students, and retirees belonging to the LGBTQ+ community to reconsider their decision to move or travel to Florida. It focused on the increasing potential for danger involved with living in Florida, and highlighted recent assaults on medical, academic, artistic, and commercial endeavors of the LGBTQ+ community in Florida.
The warning also condemned increasing racial prejudice in Florida, stating that additional laws restricting the teaching of history and systemic racism in public schools make for a dangerous environment for LGBTQ+ people of color. It highlighted that these laws “send a message that discrimination and prejudice are acceptable in Florida, and we cannot in good conscience encourage people to visit or move to a state that is openly hostile to their basic human rights.” It concluded by focusing on how the increase in discriminatory and hostile state laws in Florida pose a serious risk to health and safety of LGBTQ+ people living and traveling in the state, and included links to resources open to LGBTQ+ people living in the state which may could help them in the event of danger or discrimination.
The travel warning comes alongside similar travel warnings from the Florida Immigrant Coalition and the NAACP, which highlighted the danger and potential for harm towards immigrant and black communities in Florida.