Equality Florida BLASTS DeSantis with New Television Ads To Fight LGBTQ Censorship and Surveillance Agenda


On the heels of the successful launch of our first cable television ad on February 14, Equality Florida is launching its second ad titled By The Content of Our Curriculum taking aim at the "Stop WOKE Act" (HB7/SB148), the governor's signature piece of legislation that would censor conversations about American history and the origins of racism and injustice. This 30-second ad shows school life in the age of DeSantis censorship, with curriculum having been replaced by propaganda and educators under surveillance by the state.

Both ads are now running on MSNBC, CNN and Fox News in the Tallahassee media market. Viewers are encouraged to visit FreeToSayGay.org and StopDeSantis.org to join Equality Florida in taking action to resist the proposed legislation.

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Equality Florida BLASTS DeSantis with New Television Ads To Fight LGBTQ Censorship and Surveillance Agenda


TALLAHASSEE, FL This morning, Equality Florida launched the first of two television ads highlighting the disastrous impacts of Governor Ron DeSantis’ legislative agenda that threatens to turn Florida into a surveillance state and give the government broad license to censor conversations about American history, the origins of racism and injustice, and the existence of LGBTQ people. The 30-second ads depict school life in the wake of the bills aimed at muzzling teachers and erasing LGBTQ families.


“Not since the days of Anita Bryant have we seen such craven attempts by a leader to build political power by targeting and demonizing LGBTQ people,” said Nadine Smith, Equality Florida Executive Director. “Governor DeSantis is pushing legislation to curb free speech, propagandize school curriculums, and monitor classroom conversations, private workplaces, and doctor’s offices -- all in order to outflank Donald Trump to the right and build an onramp to run for President in 2024. As a parent of a 10 year-old, these bills fail to protect my child and our family. It is a tool for the state to censor and that encourages lawsuits against schools as a means of intimidation.”


The Don’t Say Gay bill (HB1557/SB1834) and the Stop WOKE Act (HB7/SB148) are being fastracked through the legislature, despite overwhelming opposition from the state’s largest parents group, the PTA; child welfare and medical experts; and from educators who warn of the chilling effect and chaotic implications of the broadly written bills. Each bill would censor speech in classrooms across the state, effectively erasing large swaths of American history and society. While designed to fuel the governor’s political ambitions, both bills have profound impacts on LGBTQ people.


The Don’t Say Gay bill, which bans discussion of LGBTQ in primary grades, would further stigmatize the LGBTQ community, chill efforts to create inclusive school environments, and isolate LGBTQ young people who are already at staggeringly higher risk of depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation than their peers. It is sponsored in the Senate by Dennis Baxley, an Ocala Republican and staunch opponent of equal rights, who has compared LGBTQ community to “drunks” and “drug abusers,” and who has opposed anything that would “affirm” the existence of gay people and families.


The Stop WOKE Act would censor conversations about racism, discrimination, and injustice, allowing people to sue for discrimination if they are made to feel “guilty” or “discomfort” because of a training or school lesson. This extends to private businesses as well, giving employees the right to sue their employers for discrimination if trainings that cover implicit bias, racial equity, and even sexual harassment cause them discomfort. The bill would pervert the intent of Florida’s Civil Rights Act, causing companies, schools, and agencies statewide to avoid having these conversations to avoid legal liability. Already, Osceola County Schools canceled a civil rights history seminar for fear that the content could be viewed as Critical Race Theory.


“While the governor and GOP leadership invokes “parental rights” as justification for censorship and surveillance, the bills Republican leadership is pushing actually diminish the rights of parents.  For example, anyone, even someone who doesn’t have a child in schools, is able to object to library books and instructional materials and deny access to every student as a result,” said Smith.


The production of both ads by Equality Florida Action, Inc. is part of a larger strategy to raise alarms about the impacts of this bigoted slate of leglation on LGBTQ families, school staff, and youth. Those efforts include a historic investment in digital ads, mobilization of Floridians to its annual Lobby Days program (which last week brought 100+ equality supporters to Tallahassee to meet with lawmakers), a phone bank program aimed at connecting Floridians with legislators, and an ad buy on cable television in key media markets urging voters to call lawmakers and ask them to oppose DeSantis’ Surveillance State slate of bills.


The first ad has been released on social media and will begin appearing on television screens on Tuesday. The second ad will premiere on Wednesday. Equality Florida’s full list of Legislative priorities can be found here.




Equality Florida is the largest civil rights organization dedicated to securing full equality for Florida’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community. Through education, grassroots organizing, coalition building, and lobbying, we are changing Florida so that no one suffers harassment or discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity.




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