1 in 3 LGBTQ+ Floridians Want to Leave Florida

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By Giselle Balido

August 18, 2023

According to a new survey, more than 93% of LGBTQ+ Floridians said they feel less safe now than they did before Gov. Ron DeSantis passed a series of restrictive laws targeting their communities.

After a slew of anti-LGBTQ+ laws went into effect in Florida this year, more than one-third of LGBTQ+ Floridians and a majority of transgender adults want to leave the state, according to results of a new survey co-sponsored and released by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC).

The study, which was released Thursday morning, found that 36% of LGBTQ+ Floridians—including 80% of transgender and nonbinary adults—want to leave or have already taken steps to leave the state as a result of Gov. Ron DeSantis and Florida Republicans’ new restrictions on gender-affirming care. More than 1 in 4 (28%) LGBTQ+ Floridians also want to look for a new job in a different state as a result of gender-affirming care bans in the Sunshine state.

The state’s new policies completely ban the care for children and make it extremely difficult—even impossible—for many transgender adults to get treatment.

RELATED: DeSantis Campaign Faces Scrutiny Over Slavery Comments, Nazi Symbol, Anti-LGBTQ Video

The Republican governor also expanded what critics call the “Don’t Say Gay” law, which prohibits instruction of sexual orientation and gender identity in schools and bars school employees from using a student’s preferred pronouns, among other restrictive measures.

The HRC report included quotes from LGBTQ+ Floridians, who chose to remain anonymous as they expressed their desire to leave over DeSantis’ policies.

“I am actively planning on putting my home on the market this summer and moving to a more inclusive state,” a 55+ year old transgender man said.

“I have lived in Florida for 5 years, I have plans to move out of state as soon as I retire,” said a 55+ year old lesbian woman.

RELATED: Florida Now Requires Students to Obtain Parental Permission to Use a Nickname in School

A mass exodus of people who oppose Florida’s extreme anti-LGBTQ+ laws could negatively affect the state, with the potential loss of professionals like doctors, nurses, lawyers, educators, and engineers who could choose to abandon Florida for friendlier shores.

Florida is already experiencing a massive teacher shortage with nearly 7,000 vacancies, according to the Florida Education Association (the state’s largest teachers union), in part due to DeSantis’ extreme right-wing education measures. The Florida Department of Education disputes this number, arguing there are only about 4,800 vacancies.

Regardless, the impact of the state’s anti-LGBTQ+ has been devastating for members of the community.

The survey also found that:

  • nearly 8 in 10 (79.1%) of LGBTQ+ adults and over 9 in 10 (93.3%) transgender and non-binary adults report that gender affirming care bans make them feel less safe as a member of the LGBTQ+ community.
  • over 4 in 10 (45.0%) LGBTQ+ adults in Florida, and 8 in 10 (79.8%) transgender and non-binary adults, report that gender-affirming care bans impacted their physical and/or mental health, or that of their loved ones.

With all the anti-transgender legislation happening across the state, we have to say the right word. This is a genocide,” Andrea Montañez, a trans woman and lead LGBTQ immigration organizer with Hope Community Center in Florida, told Floricua. “I feel it is not safe living here in Florida right now.

Florida’s new policies also contradict DeSantis’ repeated claims that Florida is the “freest” state in the country, as they heavily restrict the rights and freedoms of LGBTQ+ Floridians.

“These laws are hateful and out right demoralizing,” a 35-54 year old gay man said in the HRC report. “People are people, and they deserve respect, dignity, access to a life of freedom, and [to] be protected from hate, discrimination, and alienation.”

Author

  • Giselle Balido

    Giselle is Floricua's political correspondent. She writes about the economy, environmental and social justice, and all things Latino. A published author, Giselle was born in Havana and grew up in New Jersey and Miami. She is passionate about equality, books, and cats.

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