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OPINION: New research proves that Ron DeSantis is one of the GOP’s biggest LGBTQ adversaries

OPINION: New research proves that Ron DeSantis is one of the GOP’s biggest LGBTQ adversaries

OPINION: New research proves that Ron DeSantis is one of the GOP's biggest LGBTQ adversaries

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Ron DeSantis has the second-worst LGBTQ record of any Governor.

When it comes to Republican Governors Greg Abbott from Texas and Ron DeSantis from Florida, it’s always a race to the bottom.

Recently released research of media coverage of governors across 50 states finds that DeSantis has the second-worst record on LGBTQ issues nationwide, followed closely by Abbott.

DeSantis’ recent attacks on LGBTQ communities generated 131 negative stories in newspapers and media outlets from April 1, 2021, to April 30, 2022. There were only 61 positive stories.

A major driver of that negative media coverage has been DeSantis’ fixation with the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which forbids discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in Florida public schools in Kindergarten through third grade but also includes language that states that those same topics should be handled in an “age-appropriate manner” in all grades. This gives the DeSantis-controlled Florida Department of Education a wide range to restrict these conversations in all grades.

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Florida’s homophobic attacks on LGBTQ communities have reverberating effects beyond the sunshine state. Copycat versions of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill are spreading across the country to more than a dozen other states. Conservatives have dialed up the homophobia by calling any LGBTQ individuals and allies who oppose their hateful legislation “groomers” in an attempt to smear them as pedophiles.

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DeSantis’ spokesperson and his chief propagandist, Christina Pushaw, helped spread the smear far and wide. A report by Media Matters details how Pushaw, who was suspended from Twitter last year after threatening a reporter from the Associated Press, took inspiration from a far-right, anti-LGBTQ Twitter account called Libs of Tik Tok. Pushaw has been interacting with the account since at least July 2021 and has been unapologetic about her intolerant rhetoric.

Thomas Kennedy is an elected Democratic National Committee member representing Florida. He tweets from @tomaskenn.

RELATED STORY: The inspiration for Ron DeSantis’ spokesperson’s homophobic smears is finally outed

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