Anti-wokeness is killing Florida

By Kayla Ross, Back Page Editor

Florida is not the Sunshine State. The only thing that is currently shining in Florida is an insight into a far-right, post-Roe, Dobbs government.

Florida might contain the land “Where Dreams Come True,” but for women and members of the LGBTQ+ community, their dream is simply that their safety and privacy be returned to them. 

Just last month, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced that all high school girls participating in athletics will be required to report the dates of their periods. This decision has not been confirmed by the Florida High School Athletic Association yet, but DeSantis has direct ties to the organization’s board of directors. 

This announcement is a direct attack on all people who identify as women, whether they have a uterus or not. This decision will ensure that transgender athletes who do not have a period will not be participating in high school sports and will ensure that people who do have a period will have their privacy invaded, infringing further on their right to choose what happens to their body, should these athletes miss a period due to pregnancy.

This announcement does not begin to take into account that most people’s menstrual cycles do not regulate until at least the age of 15 or 16, and even then, many people suffer from hormonal issues which cause irregular cycles, sometimes resulting in going months at a time without the start of a cycle. Additionally, it is entirely normal for someone to not ever receive a period until the age of 17. Athletes who deal with these issues may be interrogated and tested, just because their body may not fit within a typical time frame measure. 

The governor’s office has claimed that “There is absolutely no support of the argument that their recommendation is aimed towards addressing an individual group of people.” And I believe that this statement is true. Because DeSantis’s administration is not trying to address individuals, his administration is trying to suppress the privacy and freedom of as many groups as it possibly can. 

Another casualty in DeSantis’s “war on woke” occurred last month as well, this time on the New College of Florida. The New College of Florida is a small, public liberal arts school in Sarasota, FL. As a result of this battle, six members of the school’s board were released to make room for six radical conservatives appointed by DeSantis. This move may cause the school to lose up to $29 million in donations. Students who are financially able are transferring, especially those who identify as members of the LGBTQ+ community, because they no longer feel safe at their former home; a school known for its excellence in diversity and equity programs. 

And now, just a week ago, a new Florida bill describes drag shows as a “danger to public health and safety” for children. Should this bill pass, any venue or restaurant that allows people under 18 to see a drag show would be at risk of losing their license. The threat to drag performers in the U.S. is now rampant, with similar bills being introduced in 14 states. Tennessee has now passed a bill with very similar anti-drag intent. There are photos of Tennessee Governor Bill Lee dressed in drag in his 1977 Franklin High School yearbook.

Although a bill acting against drag performers has not yet been introduced in Ohio, there have been hateful sentiments shared across the state in favor of laws preventing drag performances from being accessible to minors. In the small town of Wadsworth, OH, a violent protest broke out at the scene of a free drag queen story time event for all ages in Wadsworth Memorial Park.

This protest resulted in several people being arrested, and the attendance of the Proud Boys white supremacist group. In addition, there was a group of people calling themselves Neo-Nazis. These people screamed slurs at all people attending the event, and screamed racist slurs at journalists from the Akron Beacon Journal.

Hate is in our backyard. Hate is not all the way down in the Bible belt, it is not something that expired 50 years ago and it is not something that some of us are safe from. The hate that motivates our lawmakers will affect everyone directly. We must be vigilant soldiers in this “war on woke,” and we must fight back.