Bloomberg Línea — Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is expected to launch his 2024 presidential candidacy on Wednesday, May 24, is seeing growing opposition to his policies.
Bills signed into law such as that prohibiting what DeSantis calls “genital-mutilating surgical procedures and experimental puberty blockers for minors”, that which restricts the use of pronouns in schools, and which obligates people to use restrooms and locker rooms according to biological sex and establish restrictions on access to drag shows are some of the governor’s plans that are seeing opposition from the LGBTQ+ community and those that vouch for their rights in the state.
“Our wives and daughters deserve protections from woke ideology run amok,” DeSantis tweeted on May 18 in defense of his policies.
In addition, the DeSantis administration blocked in January the introduction of an Advanced Placement course for high school students that focuses on African-American studies.
Against a backdrop that appears to be growing increasingly hostile to these minorities, several civil rights groups issued a recommendation not to travel to Florida beaches - such as those in Miami - due to laws and policies pushed by the governor and the Legislature that they called “openly hostile to African Americans, people of color and LGBT+ people.”
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), a Hispanic civil rights organization, and Equality Florida, a gay rights activist group, who made the recommendation to not visit the state’s beaches, seek to draw attention to the current situation by focusing on tourism, which is one of Florida’s main sources of revenues.
The travel alert was initially proposed to the board of directors by the NAACP’s Florida State Conference.
“The NAACP’s collective consideration of this advisory is the result of relentless attacks on fundamental freedoms by the governor and his legislative body,” the organization said in its statement.
“Once again, hate-inspired state leaders have chosen to put politics before people. Governor Ron DeSantis and the state of Florida have engaged in a blatant war on the principles of diversity and inclusion and have rejected our shared identities to appeal to an extremist and dangerous minority.,“ said NAACP board chairman Leon Russell.
DeSantis’ Presidential bid
LULAC president Domingo Garcia described Florida as a “dangerous and hostile environment for law-abiding Americans and immigrants.”
During the day (May 23), DeSantis’ spokesman said that a civil rights group’s ad warning people not to visit Florida “is nothing more than a stunt.”
All of these developments come as the governor prepares to launch his presidential campaign, which various media outlets have reported will take place on May 24.
Latino truckers are also joining the protests and are encouraging their peers around the world to boycott Florida in response to the state’s immigration laws.
Following the ending of Title 42, Florida’s governor signed legislation to combat illegal immigration and critics said it could lead to police profiling.
The law requires employers with 25 or more employees to use an electronic verification system, hospitals that accept Medicaid must ask patients if they are US citizens and report it to the governor, and invalidates out-of-state driver’s licenses for “unauthorized immigrants”.
Videos posted on social media in recent days suggest that some will target June 1, a month before the new law goes into effect, in defense of those who will face new restrictions under the legislation, while others called for collective action “to appreciate the immigrant,” according to a Newsweek article.
Disney vs. DeSantis
The pro-LGBTQ+ group Equality Florida also issued an advisory after DeSantis signed the so-called ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law in March of this year.
“That law, along with additional proposals under consideration, has turned the state’s classrooms into political battlegrounds and sends a message to LGBTQ+ families and students that they are not welcome in Florida,” the group said.
For its part, Disney has publicly opposed DeSantis’ bill to limit instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in public schools, which started the entertainment company’s dispute with the Florida governor.
As a result, Disney canceled a $1 billion plan to build an office complex in Florida.
Tourism is a massive industry in Florida and Disney plays a major role in attracting tourists to the state.
Last year, arouns 137.6 million people visited the state, according to the tourism agency Visit Florida. Visitors contributed $101.9 billion to the state’s economy and supported more than 1.7 million jobs in 2021.