Florida LGBTQ group issues rare advisory warning for travel to Sunshine State

A group that’s invested in promoting Florida as a place to live, work and visit, is now advising anyone considering visiting the Sunshine State to stay home.

Equality Florida, a civil rights group that advocates for the LGBTQ community, on Wednesday issued a travel advisory.

In what the group acknowledged in a statement to be an “extraordinary step,” it warned of the risks posed to the health, safety, and freedom of those considering short- or long-term travel, or relocation to Florida amid the “passage of laws that are hostile to the LGBTQ community, restrict access to reproductive health care, repeal gun safety laws, foment racial prejudice, and attack public education by banning books and censoring curriculum.”

The NAACP last week issued a similar travel advisory over the Sunshine State’s African American studies ban.

Equality Florida Executive Director Nadine Smith said in a statement it issued the advisory “with great sadness.”

“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,” Smith said.

“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. 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.Help reimagine and build a Florida that is truly safe for and open to all, and where freedom is a reality, not a hollow campaign slogan.”

The group’s statement alleges that Gov. Ron DeSantis has made “the extremist policies the centerpiece of his” likely presidential campaign strategy, noting that he “has weaponized state agencies to silence critics and impose sanctions on large and small companies that dissent with his culture war agenda or disagree with his attacks on diversity, equity, and inclusion.”