Furious Florida students walk out over Ron DeSantis’ hateful LGBTQ+ and race attacks

Florida governor Ron DeSantis wears a white button up shirt, light blue tie and dark blue jacket as he speaks to someone off camera

University students across Florida have taken part in walk-out protests opposing hard-line Republican governor Ron DeSantis’s demand to access the medical data of students seeking gender-affirming care.

They were also in protest of DeSantis’s ban on an African American studies course in the state, which he’s blamed on “queer theory”.

Public university students in Florida planned ‘Stand for Freedom’ walkouts for this week, which finished with a state-wide walkout on Wednesday.

The protests went ahead after a memo from the governor requested universities “provide the number of encounters for sex-reassignment treatment or where such treatment was sought”, as well as data for students referred to other facilities.

The data requested would include ages, including those of people under 18, but is not thought to have asked for names.

“Hate is spread when it’s innocuous, when it seems silly, and when it seems like taking a stand is an overreaction,” Ben Braver, a junior at the University of South Florida, said Insider.

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“We, just like any generation, need to stand for the civil rights that have already been fought for, the ones that have been won and those which are at stake right now.” 

LGBTQ+ groups and advocates denounced the rise in anti-LGBTQ+ legislation with Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law targeting inclusive education. (Getty)

Andy Pham, a senior student at the same university, added: “They want to legislate us out of existence. That starts with attacking our healthcare, attacking our right to exist in public spaces, attempting surveillance – all of that.”

DeSantis requested personal details of students

Florida governor Ron DeSantis demanded in January that the 12 public universities in the state hand over data of all instances of their students being diagnosed with gender dysphoria, seeking hormone replacement therapy, surgeries and some other treatments likely to be sought by transgender patients.

DeSantis reportedly not only asked, in a memo, for a breakdown of the medical data of students who received gender-affirming care, but also members of the public who sought that care at the hospitals located at the universities.

When asked why the state of Florida had requested such personal health data, DeSantis’s deputy press secretary, Jeremy Redfern, told Insider: “We are committed to fully understanding the amount of public funding that is going toward such non-academic pursuits to best assess how to get our colleges and universities refocused on education and truth.”

According to the publication, six universities – University of Florida, Florida State University, University of Central Florida, Florida A&M University, Florida International University and the University of North Florida – have complied and turned over the information.