Ron DeSantis uses ‘non-binary student’ photo to push pathetic anti-LGBTQ+ election campaign

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis wearing a black shirt and jacket looks on before the start of a game between the Georgia Bulldogs and the Florida Gators

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has surprised absolutely no one by yet again pushing anti-trans rhetoric, this time through ballot mailers sent to voters.

The extremely conservative Republican proved right-wing humour is fleeting by sending out fliers with a stock photo of a non-binary graduate, showing them supposedly thanking president Joe Biden and rival Charlie Crist for “making Floridians pay off my student loans”.

The mailers also contain a slew of misinformation about DeSantis’ Democratic rival, including that he and president Joe Biden will force “hard-working Floridians to pay back student loans for degrees like Gender Studies and French Poetry”.

DeSantis’ apparent disdain for competent poetry aside, the fliers also claim that the “Biden-Crist college loan bailout will make inflation worse, punish hard-working taxpayers, [and] reward universities.

“Charlie Crist will make YOU pay,” the letter adds, before asking recipients to vote for him in the 8 November midterm elections.

Speaking to HuffPost, Equality Florida press secretary Brandon Wolf said that the archaic message of the ad “tells us the kind of future envisioned by DeSantis and his right-wing cronies.

“These extremists are hellbent on returning us to the darkest days of anti-LGBTQ+ hysteria that fueled discrimination, bigotry, and violence against the community,” Wolf continued.

“The war they are waging against equality is dangerous, cynical, and should be condemned.”

The picture appears to have been taken from Getty images and can be found by typing “nonbinary graduation” into the site’s search engine.

A nonbinary student during a graduation event.

The photo of the non-binary graduate which DeSantis used in a campaign mailer. (Getty)

Interestingly, both the organisation and the photographer responsible for the set of photos appear to operate in Brazil, meaning that the student involved in the photograph is unlikely to be American.

But this hasn’t stopped DeSantis from using them as a representation of the disdain he has shown to feel towards gender-nonconforming individuals with his rhetoric.

While the mailer makes no explicit mention of trans issues currently facing the US, the anti-LGBTQ+ messaging behind DeSantis’ platform is so clear, it goes without saying.

Ron DeSantis has a history of anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric

The Florida governor has been outspokenly anti-LGBTQ+ during his entire career, from anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric to harmful legislation.

Most notable was his signing of a Florida law that would prevent LGBTQ+ messaging in schools, dubbed the Don’t Say Gay bill.

The Parental Rights in Education act – which is its official name – prohibits Florida schools from “classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in certain grade levels” and requires them to “reinforce fundamental rights of parents to make decisions regarding upbringing and control of their children”.

It has been widely criticised by members of the LGBTQ+ community, as well as Democratic politicians who have called it a “hateful bill”.

President Joe Biden said in a February statement: “I want every member of the LGBTQI+ community – especially the kids who will be impacted by this hateful bill – to know that you are loved and accepted just as you are.

“I have your back, and my administration will continue to fight for the protection and safety you deserve.”