Florida ranks 50th of 51 for LGBTQ+ safety according to new report

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Florida ranks second to last among states when it comes to LGBTQ+ safety.


That’s according to new annual rankings published by Safe Home.

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Only South Dakota ranked lower than Florida.

Among the reasons cited for the Sunshine State’s low ranking were low participation rates for law enforcement agency crime reporting and the torrent of new state laws passed in recent years aimed at members of the LGBTQ community.

“These laws often lead to rhetoric, hate speech on social media, which leads to threats of violence, which too often leads to actual physical violence against LGBTQ people,” said Equality Florida’s Carlos Guillermo Smith.

Smith told Action News Jax he’s not surprised Florida has dropped so low in the rankings for LGBTQ safety.

“Extreme politicians in Tallahassee have made Florida synonymous with homophobia and transphobia,” said Smith.

RELATED: Community members display their own version of pride, light up Main Street Bridge in San Marco

Despite three years in a row that saw legislation banning transgender athletes from women’s sports, restrictions on LGBTQ topics in the classroom and a ban on transgender medical treatments for minors, Smith noted this past session saw some major victories for the LGBTQ community.

“The tide is turning in our state. This year 21 out of 22 anti-LGBTQ proposals that were introduced in the legislature were either stopped or neutralized,” said Smith.

The most recent flashpoint in the fight over LGBTQ issues has been over the lighting of state run bridges, like the Acosta, during Pride Month.

But much in the way community members stood up and pushed back by lighting up their own rainbow display on the Main Street Bridge this weekend, Smith argues the LGBTQ community continues to stand strong here in Florida.”

“Now more than ever before, especially in the wake of so many attacks against our community, is the time for us to raise our flags as LGBTQ Floridians even higher,” said Smith.

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