Truth Wins Out:

DeSantis is an Autocrat who Must be Stopped: Rallies Planned on Friday

DELRAY BEACH, FL- Truth Wins Out called on all Floridians who believe in freedom and democracy to openly defy Gov. Ron DeSantis’ unconstitutional and authoritarian new attack against the LGBTQ Community. Yesterday, a state board approved the expansion of the state’s odious Don’t Say Gay law and the Florida House passed bills on gender-transition care, use of restrooms and keeping youth out of drag shows, that Republicans falsely label adult content.

Truth Wins Out urges all Floridians to attend rallies by Walk Out to Learn on Friday, April 21. Please visit their website to see how you can participate. Also visit the statewide LGBTQ organization, Equality Florida, to get involved with fighting the DeSantis agenda.

Wayne Besen, Executive Director of Delray Beach-based Truth Wins Out, has been on the forefront of speaking out against Florida’s governor. His TikTok show commentary on DeSantis has amassed approximately 1 million views. In a statement released today on the new law, Besen said:

“Truth Wins Out encourages open defiance of this bigoted law that singles out and demonizes LGBTQ citizens. Ron DeSantis is an Orwellian tyrant who is power-drunk, and it is our duty as residents to sober him up before he does irreversible damage to Florida and the nation.

Never forget that you are an American first and a Floridan second. You are born with inalienable constitutional rights and protections. DeSantistan is just one state within a larger nation and must abide by the same rules as the other 49 states. When Ron DeSantis breaks the law with unconstitutional orders, you are free to defy and ignore his autocratic decrees.

When Ron DeSantis tells you what you CAN’T SAY – stand up and say it TWICE AS LOUD and proud. If he tells you how to dress, make sure you wear the outfits he forbids. When the governor tells you what entertainment is permissible, shun him and go to a show that represents your values and views. When he demands that you bow down and speak only in a way pre-approved by the state—tell him to get lost and boisterously express your own opinion. Florida has no right to demand that residents adhere to state-sponsored speech or thought. That would be unamerican. 

Recently, Equality Florida took the extraordinary step of issuing a travel advisory, warning LGBTQ people who are thinking of traveling or relocating to DeSantistan to be cautious. In a statement released yesterday, Equality Florida’s Nadine Smith explained the gravity of these recent efforts in Florida to limit LGBTQ rights:

“The GOP-led legislature has made clear that they see their role as little more than a rubber stamp for the anti-LGBTQ, anti-freedom agenda of Governor Ron DeSantis. Today, the House passed bills that will rip health insurance and Telehealth access away from transgender people, dissolve child custody agreements, forcibly detransition transgender young people, target small businesses and municipalities that dare to host drag performances, and empower people to monitor one another’s genitals to ensure they are in the “right bathroom.”

Free states don’t wield the power of government against the people. Free states don’t criminalize healthcare or terrorize small business owners. The damage that DeSantis and his legislative cronies have done to Florida will outlast their career ambitions. Shame on Republican lawmakers for plunging our state into right-wing chaos in service to one man with a desperation to be president.”

The failure of Ron DeSantis to protect minorities isn’t limited to LGBTQ Floridians. He has repeatedly failed to condemn parading Nazis, regularly invokes the anti-Jewish dog whistle “George Soros” and anti-Semitism has skyrocketed on his watch. The Anti-Defamation League’s annual Audit of Antisemitic Incidents reports that “Anti-Semitic incidents were worse in Florida than in the U.S. overall, the third year in a row that the state’s increase outpaced the national increase.”

On March 18, the Florida chapter of the NAACP voted unanimously to issue their own travel advisory. 

“The recommendation from our Florida State Conference is a clear indication of just how egregious Governor Desantis’ actions are…. “Our question to Governor DeSantis is, ‘What sort of future are you fostering for Black Americans throughout Florida while eradicating our historical contributions to this nation?’ Misrepresenting the reality of our history promotes ignorance and apathy.”

The Florida Immigrant Coalition offered its own travel advisory.  

“Travel to all areas of Florida should be done with extreme caution as it can be unsafe for people of color, individuals who speak with an accent, and international travelers. Every county in Florida poses a heightened risk of harassment, possible detainment, and potential family separation based on racial profiling.”

When DeSantis and his Republican legislative puppets passed the original version of the Don’t Say Gay law, the governor pretended the bill was to protect young children. CNN reports that when critics warned that the initial law was the proverbial camel’s nose under the tent, DeSantis lashed out:

In one exchange with a news reporter, DeSantis asked the reporter who the ban applied to. The reporter responded, “Grades K to 3.”

DeSantis responded: “So five-year-olds, six-year olds, seven-year-olds, and the idea that you wouldn’t be honest about that, and tell people what it actually says. It’s why people don’t trust people like you because you peddle false narratives.”

“The fact that DeSantis concealed his true intentions and browbeat critics and reporters who tried to pin him down is a reflection of DeSantis’ lack of moral character,” added TWO’s Wayne Besen. “DeSantis is an out-of-control autocrat who deliberately misled his constituents about the extremism of his agenda. Had he told the truth about his radicalism, DeSantis likely would not have been reelected.”

Founded in 2006, Truth Wins Out works to eliminate anti-LGBTQ prejudice and discrimination, as well as all forms of hate and bigotry. We fight against fascism and speak out against right wing extremism.

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