Civil rights group NAACP warns Florida is ‘openly hostile’ to Black and LGBTQ+ visitors

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has issued a warning to anyone planning to travel to Florida: the state is “openly hostile toward African Americans, people of colour and LGBTQ+ individuals”.

The civil rights group says the warning will remain in effect until further notice.

Florida governor, Ron DeSantis, has signed a host of anti-LGBTQ+ bills into law – including the Don’t Say Gay ruling – but has used his power to crack down on other minorities too.

The hard-line Republican has recently pulled funding for diversity initiatives and ensured a high school could not teach an African-American studies course.

The NAACP highlighted that people should “be advised that the State of Florida does not value diversity, equity and inclusion in schools, colleges and universities”.

They added: “Florida public schools will not teach your children accurate African-American history. The State of Florida does not welcome the contributions of African Americans and people of colour.”

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Anyone who still decides to visit the Sunshine state, should advocate for: “Legislation that supports diversity in all aspects of education… the right to peacefully assemble and protest any unjust laws or actions by the state”, and “the protection of African-Americans’ right to vote”, the group added.

“Our greatest asset is the voice of the millions who speak up every day to protect our democracy and our civil rights.”

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Well-known for Don’t Say Gay, which was recently expanded, DeSantis’ administration has also taken various steps to restrict race representation, including signing a bill last year that restricts how schools talk about race and rejecting an advance placement course on African-American history.

There have been a number of other anti-LGBTQ+ laws.

In a statement, NAACP board of directors chairman, Leon Russell, said: “Once again, hate-inspired state leaders have chosen to put politics over people. Governor Ron DeSantis and the state of Florida have engaged in a blatant war against principles of diversity and inclusion and rejected our shared identities to appeal to a dangerous, extremist minority.

“We will not allow our rights and history to be held hostage for political grand-standing.”

LGBTQ+ civil rights organisation Equality Florida issued a similar, “unprecedented” travel warning last month.

According to CNN, the League of United Latin American Citizens having also issued a travel warning over a new immigration law DeSantis recently signed, which is set to come into effect in July.

In response to questions about visiting Florida, the UK Foreign Office referred PinkNews to its generic foreign travel advice for the US.

It states that most travellers from the UK visit the country trouble free, but that protests are commonplace and “can become violent” and terrorist attacks are “very likely”.

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It does not have specific LGBTQ+ advice for the US, just standard guidelines for anywhere overseas, highlighting that attitudes towards LGBTQ+ can be different in other countries and “you’re unlikely to experience difficulties if you prepare well and research your destination before you go”.

PinkNews has contacted Ron DeSantis’ office for comment.

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