Truth Wins Out:

Floridians Should be Concerned with DeSantis’ Drag on the State’s Reputation and Economy, Not Innocuous Drag Shows, Says TWO

DELRAY BEACH, FL- Truth Wins Out strongly condemned a slew of new anti-LGBTQ bills signed into law today by Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. The legislation shows that bigotry is a feature, not a bug in DeSantis’ Florida. The ugly new laws, signed by DeSantis, punch down at transgender students and distort drag shows as “live adult entertainment.”

“The drag that Ron DeSantis’ is causing to the state’s reputation is the only drag that threatens Florida’s future,” said Truth Wins Out’s Executive Director Wayne Besen. “The image of Florida as a safe and welcoming state is sinking quicker than Ron DeSantis’ recent presidential poll numbers. This battle is just beginning, and we will double-down on fighting hate in the Sunshine State.”

Gov. DeSantis and his lemming GOP lawmakers expanded the “don’t say gay” law, banning classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity through eighth grade. Under the law, children are forbidden from using pronouns that don’t match their birth sex. Under the law, children can’t use pronouns that don’t correspond with their sex at birth.

“This is an all-out attack on freedom. … DeSantis doesn’t see freedom as a value worth defending, he sees it as a campaign slogan in his bid for the White House,” Joe Saunders, senior political director of Equality Florida, said in a prepared statement. 

The Orlando Sentinel reports: Under the bills, drug treatments and surgeries for children diagnosed with gender dysphoria will be banned in Florida. Transgender people will be required to use bathrooms in schools and public buildings that correspond with their sex at birth.

DeSantis piously frames his anti-LGBTQ attacks as efforts to protect Florida’s children. However, the governor’s reprehensible record on children’s safety tells a radically different story.

The Department of Children and Families, which was created to help youth that have suffered abuse, abandonment, or neglect, reports “unacceptably high vacancy rates” and surging numbers of investigators leaving the job.

Between June 2019 and June 2022, the vacancy rate for child protective investigators (CPIs) jumped from 6.6% to 21%. During the same time-period, the turnover rate for CPIs swelled to a whopping 71% from 45%. And at the end of the 2022 fiscal year, more than half of CPI workers had less than two years of experience. The Sun-Sentinel reports:

“The high vacancy rate has a negative impact on staff morale and overall well-being due to increased overtime and excessive work hours,” read a section of the budget recommendation. “This can be seen in exit survey results where the top reasons for dissatisfaction among these critical classes are work/life balance, volume of work, scheduling, and salary.” As of July, the base pay for investigators was $39,600.

DeSantis seems to have unlimited state funds to fight culture war lawsuits, but habitually shortchanges the investigators charged with helping youth in crisis. The mind-blowing hypocrisy of DeSantis’ “protect the children” racket was laid bare by a Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald review of state financial transactions:

As Gov. Ron DeSantis has waged an aggressive war on what he considers “woke” culture, his ideas have come under fierce legal fire, with more than 15 lawsuits challenging his policies.

Four private law firms — each with deep connections to Republican Party politics — have been hired to defend the state, and the cost to Florida taxpayers is at least $16.7 million.

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.”

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 more than 1 million views.

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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