Florida Gears Up for Hot Fascist Summer

Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida. Photo by Gage Skidmore.

Things are heating up in Florida, and I’m not just talking about the weather. The state is gearing up for one hell of a Hot Fascist Summer.

On April 16, Florida’s Voice tweeted: “Survey: Majority of ‘queer parents’ consider leaving Florida because of law barring sexual orientation/gender identity instruction in K-3.” In response, Christina Pushaw, who works for Gov. Ron DeSantis’s campaign, tweeted a waving-hand emoji. LOL so funny that Florida is becoming such an unwelcoming place for LGBTQ+ people that families are actively considering fleeing.

According to The New Republic’s Prem Thakker, “The actual study Pushaw was smugly responding to found that nearly one-quarter of LGBTQ Florida parents feared harassment, with parents of school-age children in public schools expressing the greatest concern for their safety. Over half of the parents surveyed have considered moving out of Florida, while 17 percent have already taken steps to do so.”

Florida’s Voice, by the way, claims it’s “dedicated to bringing honest political reporting to Florida,” but is basically a Gov. Ron DeSantis cheering section, which is probably why Pushaw felt comfortable so blithely dismissing the pain and suffering her boss is causing actual human beings.

Speaking of DeSantis, he just appointed a right-wing extremist to the state’s Fifth District Court of Appeals. As we know, the judges sitting on the bench at all levels of the judiciary matter a whole hell of a lot when it comes to defending civil rights or throwing civil rights in the trash.

That appointee is Jordan Pratt, a member of the right-wing Federalist Society, according to Right Wing Watch. Pratt worked at the Justice Department during the Trump Administration to pack courts with extremist judges. So that seems, you know, less than ideal.

And then there’s Florida Rep. Randy Fine who seems fine with eradicating LGBTQ+ people if it means protecting children (it doesn’t). As Alejandra Caraballo tweeted on April 12, “While defending his bill in Florida that would ban drag and pride events, Rep Fine said that ‘if it means erasing a community, because [LGBTQ+ people] have to target children, then damn right we outta do it.’”

Caraballo calls that “one of the most bigoted statements I’ve ever heard.”

Indeed. LGBTQ+ people do not target kids, and attempts like Fine’s to paint us all as a danger to children contributes to violence against our community. Laws like his do absolutely nothing to protect children from actual real dangers they face. Like, I don’t know, guns.

And then there’s Florida Rep. Webster Barnaby who called “transgender people ‘demons’ and ‘mutants’ during debate over a bill that would base access to bathrooms, locker rooms, and other facilities in the state on one’s reproductive abilities and assigned gender at birth,” according to The Advocate.

“We have people that live among us today on planet Earth that are happy to display themselves as if they were mutants from another planet,” Rep. Barnaby said. “There is so much darkness in our world today, so much evil in our world today, and so many people who are afraid to address the evil, the dysphoria, the dysfunction. I’m not afraid to address the dysphoria or the dysfunction. The Lord rebuke you, Satan, and all of your demons and all of your imps who come and parade before us. That’s right. I called you demons and imps who come and parade before us and pretend that you are part of this world.”

That’s… a lot. I mean, I agree that there’s a lot of darkness in our world. But it isn’t coming from transgender people who are just trying to live their lives without Republicans trying to legislate them out of existence.

But don’t worry, Barnaby apologized. “I referred to trans people as demons,” he said according to The Advocate. “I would like to apologize to the trans community for referring to you as demons.”

Granted, he’s still going to vote like trans people are demons. But hey, thanks for the sorry!

Things are so dire in Florida that Equality Florida has issued a travel advisory warning LGBTQ+ people of “risks posed to the health, safety, and freedom of those considering short or long term travel, or relocation to the state.” Read the whole statement here.

If you must get your Disney fix this summer, go to Disneyland. California is a progressive state and it has better weather. You’re welcome.

D'Anne Witkowski is a poet, writer and comedian living life with her wife and son. She has been writing about LGBT politics for over a decade. Follow her on Twitter.