The Impact of Anti-LGBTQ+ Policies on Florida: A State in Flux


In recent times, the state of Florida has become a battleground for civil rights organizations and LGBTQ+ advocates due to the enactment of controversial anti-LGBTQ+ policies by the Republican party. This article delves into the repercussions of these policies on residents and the tourism industry in Florida. From travel advisories to family decisions to leave the state, the consequences of these policies are becoming increasingly evident.

Families Fleeing Due to Political Climate

Earlier this year, civil rights organizations such as the NAACP and Equality Florida issued travel advisories, cautioning Americans about visiting Florida due to anti-black and anti-LGBTQ+ policies promoted by the state’s Republican party. The policies have led some residents, including families like the McKees, to make the difficult choice of permanently leaving the state. For example, the McKee family expressed their decision to move was driven by their concern for their trans daughter’s well-being, as they faced the possibility of the state banning gender-affirming care for children. Their sentiments highlight the impact of these policies on families and individuals who feel compelled to uproot their lives to protect their loved ones.

The UCLA Williams Institute Study

To quantify the sentiment among residents, the UCLA Williams Institute conducted a study, particularly focusing on the state’s “don’t say gay” law and its subsequent expansion. The findings were striking, with 40% of surveyed parents expressing the desire to leave Florida due to these policies. Another 11% stated that they were very likely to move within the next two years. Barriers to leaving included job constraints, extended family connections, and the logistical challenges of relocating. This data underscores the significant impact of the state’s anti-LGBTQ+ policies on the population’s decision-making.

Polarized Response to Policies

The response to these policies is notably polarized along political lines. Democrats, Independents, and even some Republicans are considering leaving the state due to their ideological stance. A study reported that 53% of Democratic respondents, 40% of Independents, and 15% of Republicans have contemplated leaving Florida due to these policies. The chairman of the Florida Republican party, Christian Zeigler, engaged in divisive rhetoric, characterizing departing families as supporting the “sexualization of kids” and calling them “perverted.” Such rhetoric further highlights the deep divisions and controversy surrounding these policies.

Tourism Impact and the LGBTQ+ Community

Despite the efforts to attract LGBTQ+ tourists, the state has witnessed a decrease in tourism, raising questions about the impact of the policies on the state’s economy. Orlando, a city reliant on tourism due to its popular theme parks, launched campaigns to position itself as LGBTQ+-friendly. However, tourism declined by 3.5% in the 12 months from April 2022 to April 2023. While the exact correlation between the policies and the decrease in tourism cannot be definitively proven, the changing political climate and the travel advisories likely contribute to this trend.


The tumultuous landscape in Florida highlights the far-reaching consequences of anti-LGBTQ+ policies, both within the state’s population and its tourism sector. Families are making life-altering decisions to protect their loved ones, and the tourism industry is grappling with a decline in visitors. The political polarization surrounding these policies underscores the broader societal divisions. As the state grapples with these challenges, its trajectory serves as a reminder of the complex interplay between politics, society, and economic realities.