It So Sucks to Be Gay in Florida

pride-lauderdale.jpg
Looks like they're having fun, but scratch beneath the surface...
Sure, all those coffeehouses, Gay Marts, and laser hair-removal clinics may make Fort Lauderdale or Wilton Manors look like a mecca for aging queer snowbirds. And Lake Worth was voted most gay-friendly city of its size years ago. But this handy scorecard from eQualityGiving.com tells the real story: It totally sucks to be gay in Florida.

EQuality has evaluated all 50 states according to six criteria: hate crimes, nondiscrimination, marriage, gender (freedom to choose your own gender), youth (statutes protecting against bullying due to sexual orientation or gender identification), and parenting. Not surprisingly, no state achieves a perfect, full-equality score of six.

But some states come close: the cool kids -- California, Iowa, New Jersey, and Vermont -- get high fives. Meanwhile, Florida, like some sniveling, unwashed cousin, has to hang out with a bunch of losers: We score a miserable 1.5, ranking us as the one of the five worst states in the union. Only Ohio, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas and Idaho rank as low.

Hit the jump to learn what we're missing:

Although there are scattershot city and county laws that attempt to address domestic partnership and bullying (Palm Beach County School District has adopted antibullying policies, for instance**) the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council notes that there is still no statewide law prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation. The Florida Constitution prohibits gay marriage. And we're the only state in the union that forbids gays from adopting children.

This week, the Lake Worth City Commission, under the urging of Commissioner Cara Jennings, unanimously passed a resolution calling for the state Legislature to repeal Section 63.042 of Florida Statutes, which provides that "No person eligible to adopt under this statute may adopt if that person is a homosexual."

Last year, West Palm Beach Congresswoman Mary Brandenburg and Sunrise Sen. Nan Rich  sponsored bills (HB 3, SB 102) to repeal the ban on gay adoption. The bills were reintroduced  last week.
**UPDATE: According to Ted Howard, Executive Director of Florida Together Federation, 14 School Boards in the state have bullying policies that specifically protect for both sexual orientation and gender identity. Palm Beach and Broward are included in that number.

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19 comments
Beauty Equipment
Beauty Equipment

Great story....I absolutely enjoyed reading and hope you keep updating it frequently!

Kaitlynn8197
Kaitlynn8197

 I live in Florida, I'm Bisexual, and I'm a teen and I find it upsetting that Florida does not protect my friends and I just because of our sexual orientations (most of my friends are bi, gay, or lesbian). Its the 21st century and I believe that not having these laws is just a little prehistoric.

John Ratley
John Ratley

It truly took some time for me to take it into consideration. When I used to read about night terrors I pictured something bad. When my son expirienced them for the very first time I used to be horrified!! Now I keep up with the latest news and researches in hopes to find an efficient cure

Mac Kuniyoshi
Mac Kuniyoshi

Obama states that, "We have now had nearly 10 years of war. Wow never mind eh?.abigail.

Archie Weisenfels
Archie Weisenfels

Who the hell assumed erecting a mosque at ground zero would be a great idea? I'm no great fan of both Glen Beck or Sarah Palin however , when compared to Obama and the supremely senseless organization, this couple are geniuses, come on North america, there is a certain amount of odd stuff going down. Debby.

Peter
Peter

If the comments here are any indication of the kind of people one encounters in Florida, then it's no wonder Florida is a front-runner for the most anti-equality state in the nation.

To Anonymous: Last time I checked, Florida was still part of the United States. Citizens are free to live their lives as they see fit as long as they are not causing harm to others. If you're so insecure about your own identity that a man wearing a boa throws you into a tizzy, you may want to seek professional help.

Ant
Ant

Wow, it's incredibly scary to try and comprehend how ignorant and stupid people are. I don't think anonymous is getting the point. The issue is not about being "gay" The issue is not having equal rights because you don't fit the model image of the dominant majority. It shouldn't matter if you have one tattoo or a thousand tattoo, since when did having tattoos make you a criminal? Progress in this country is slow and I realize now why that is.

Mike
Mike

Right on,Steve.Equal rights is the issue here not any discomfort felt by the straight community. Gary,why spend your discretionary dollars in a state that actively discriminates against you?I don't get it.Would you visit a place with racist or misognistic laws?I hope not. For me it makes sense to support places that support the gay community.Money & tax revenue talks.When FL begins to pass equality measures then take your vacation there.Otherwise there are lots of great beaches in CA,BC,even in MA!

Steve
Steve

These have got to be some of the worst kinds of homophobia right here:

" But don't you think some (or maybe all) of the persecution you speak of stems from the flamethrowing and not the homosexuality ? "

I wear a button down shirt, jeans, glasses, and I work behind a desk most of the day programming websites. I pay taxes and I don't march in any parades. No, the discrimination comes from people being bigots, not from my wardrobe, So go f*** yourself and your clear unadulterated prejudice.

Gary
Gary

Gee I don't know what to say because I live in CA outside of SF, so according to the writer I'm one of the cool kids. However, if it's so cool in CA, why do I love coming to Fort Lauderdale so much (I am in a domestic partner relation and very happy to have that right)? I love Florida, and yeah they could change much to make it better, but the gays I meet there are great! See you mid-April 2010.

AC
AC

Ed - Very true. I especially like the mentality of "you don't deserve equal rights if you don't fit into the "normal" population."

It becomes discrimination when select classes of people have rights or privileges over others, without caveats, because of who they are.

Visit ANY community (suburban, urban, ghetto, rural, gay, straight, white, black, etc.) and you can find real life examples of any stereotype.

Does anyone think it would be fair to disallow rights to people who live in trailer parks, drive a pick-up truck, or likes to watch Nascar?

What about murders, pedophiles, and rapists?

Why are these people allowed to marry, adopt children, and enjoy legal protections under the Federal Law?

This Country has come to a point that there is so much hate, there is a multi-billion dollar industry lobbying against any access to rights by gay people.

It's not about God, it's not about what's "moral" - it is all about a pure hate that is completely unfounded.

Georg
Georg

If you think gay people in Florida can avoid discrimination by hiding, I'm afraid you are mistaken. Martin Gill is a foster parent in Miami who has been a great father to two children. He is the person those children love as their father. He wants to give them a permanent home by adopting them. The state agencies entrusted him to raise those children because he is a good parent. Yet now the state is trying to take his children away and tear them from the only home they know, simply because he is gay. That is discrimination, and its wrong. And it's only one of countless examples of discrimination that exist because marriage and adoption are illegal for gay people in Florida.

Georg KetelhohnChair, Florida Together

Ed
Ed

And the moral of the story is - remember kids - If you are different; you deserve no rights! Gotta love the "understandable fascism" in todays society.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Yes, Mike. But don't you think some (or maybe all) of the persecution you speak of stems from the flamethrowing and not the homosexuality ? It's like the guy with a mohawk, tattoos and piercings everywhere complaining that he can't get a fair shake in his job interviews. At some point, you have to ask yourself: Am I making good decisions and behaving reasonably...Would I hire me? I suspect most of the "flamethrowers" know the answer to these questions (deep down anyway) but focusing on equal protection arguments is sure easier than looking a little more squarely in the mirror. It's obviously much easier to reason that all my problems would go away if everyone would stop denying me my civil rights.

Mike
Mike

Wanting to be treated equally under the law & to be free from discrimination does not a flame throwing drag queen make.By not having equal protections it sends out a clear message that gays & lesbians are not valued members of the community;I can't understand why those who can choose to live elsewhere stay in FL. As for gay tourists,it's obvious that you're not welcome- maybe all the money you spend,but not you. As for the poster with the happy gay friends,don't you want them to enjoy the same legal rights as you?!!!

Anony2
Anony2

I agree with anonymous.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Maybe if you're a barechested, flamethrowing parade marcher with a mountain of other "issues" you'd be unhappy anywhere. Maybe south florida has become the warm weather destination of choice for insecure gays running from another city??...kind of a bigger version of key west. I have a number of gay friends who aren't "in your face" and lead very healthy lives, personally and professionally. They seem to be very happy. They don't strip down and march in parades or insist on excessive pda in public. They are not at all ashamed of their sexuality but they take great pains not to be entirely defined by it either. Again, I fear this region may suffer from having become a melting pot of the less confident gay pop. running from another life/problems.

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