Nadine Smith, the Executive Director of Equality Florida, told a group of Disney executives that Florida’s governor and legislative leaders are seeking to erase and criminalize the existence of gay people through the Parental Rights in Education bill.
The video obtained by a reporter documented comments made during a meeting among Disney officials and activists that was called to address the legislation recently signed by Governor DeSantis.
Referring to the bill, Smith said the actions by the governor and legislative leaders harkened back to the 1950’s and 1960’s. She told the Disney executives that “when they can criminalize your existence and demonize who you are, the next step is to criminalize you and take your kids.”
The comments by the participants in meeting voiced no concerns related to the provisions of bill addressing parental rights and the limitations of gender identity instruction to elementary school students. Instead, the discussion focused on how Disney would promote LGBTQ causes within their programing.
Smith has previously chose to characterize DeSantis as a “coward.”
Equality Florida, an LGBTQ advocacy group, released a television advertisement on Monday “blasting” Governor DeSantis over the Parental Rights in Education Bill (SB 1834), which the group describes as “LGBTQ censorship and surveillance agenda.”
Critics of the Parental Rights in Education legislation labeled it the “Don’t Say Gay” bill and have refused to answer questions about the other provisions of the bill, focused on parental rights. These provisions require parental notification related to certain actions taken at school and “adopt procedures that reinforce the fundamental right of parents to make decisions regarding the upbringing and control of their children.”
The ad, shown below, refers to a provision in the Parental Rights in Education bill that “prohibits a school district from encouraging classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students.”
The ad shows a student giving a classroom presentation. When the student mentions she has two moms, alarms start going off in the classroom and she is asked to report to the office.
Equality Florida contends that “the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, which bans discussion of LGBTQ in primary grades, would further stigmatize the LGBTQ community, chill efforts to create inclusive school environments, and isolate LGBTQ young people who are already at staggeringly higher risk of depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation than their peers.”