Human Rights Campaign Responds to Governor DeSantis Revoking Disney’s Tax-Exempt Status

by Elizabeth Bibi

Washington, D.C. — Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — responded to news that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis had revoked Disney’s tax-exempt status. HRC Interim President Joni Madison issued the following statement in response:

“Governor DeSantis is wielding the power of the state to punish businesses simply for not falling in line with his brutal and discriminatory attacks. It’s simply another example of Gov. DeSantis’s attempts to tell people what to say, how to teach, what they can learn, what they can believe, and who they can be, and shows that Gov. DeSantis is prioritizing attacking LGBTQ+ people over the well-being of his state.
Every step of this entire ordeal in Florida has been nothing more than a shameful attempt to out-Trump Trump through fear, hate and lies. More than 200 major businesses, including Disney, have refused to cower to the tyrannical threats of politicians and are speaking out against anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in Florida and across the country. These companies are standing with their employees, their customers and shared values of human decency, dignity and respect. Despite the constant political attacks on LGBTQ+ people, we will continue to speak out and ask that our employers join us. We're not going anywhere.”

The news comes as Gov. DeSantis signed the “Stop WOKE” act (HB 7), legislation limiting protected speech in workplaces and classrooms by censoring honest dialogue about systemic racism, gender, and race discrimination. Earlier this year, Governor DeSantis also signed the dangerous and now-infamous “Don’t Say Gay or Trans” bill (HB 1557) – a bill designed to silence teachers from talking about LGBTQ+ issues or people – further stigmatizing and isolating LGBTQ+ kids and also undermining existing protections for LGBTQ+ students. The legislation, which has triggered major backlash from educators, students, and employers in Florida and across the country prevents teachers from providing a safe, inclusive classroom for all students. And just this week, the Florida Department of Health released a statement, which it sent to licensed health and human services providers in the state of Florida, attacking the established standards of age-appropriate, medically-necessary, and often life-saving care for transgender youth – including "socially transitioning," which can include gender-affirming haircuts and outfits. HRC released a point-by-point rebuttal detailing the bad science and disinformation behind the newest attack on transgender and non-binary youth in Florida.

In response to the the passage of these bills and the Department of Health guidances, HRC launched a series of new billboards welcoming visitors to “Florida: The Sunshine ‘Don’t Say Gay or Trans’ State.” The billboards are being placed in key areas across the state with high visitor traffic in order to call attention to Governor DeSantis’s measures attacking the LGTBQ+ community.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ+ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

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