The Rainbow Report – A Closer Look at the Florida State Guard and Its Potential Impact on LGBTQ+ Safety 🌈

But he saw too that in America the struggle was befogged by the fact that the worst Fascists were they who disowned the word ‘Fascism’ and preached enslavement to Capitalism under the style of Constitutional and Traditional Native American Liberty.” – Sinclair Lewis

Greetings, everyone; I’m Scott Galvin, Executive Director of Safe Schools South Florida, an organization staunchly committed to advocating for the safety and support of LGBTQ+ youth in our community. Today, I want to address a deeply concerning development: the evolution of the Florida State Guard.

Reestablished last year by Governor Ron DeSantis, the Guard’s original mandate was to respond swiftly to emergencies and hurricanes. Fast forward a year, and the Guard’s mandate, size, and budget have ballooned dramatically. From a force of 400 volunteers with a $10 million budget, it now boasts 1,500 volunteers and a staggering budget of $110 million.

But that’s not all. This expansion has equipped the Guard with significant weaponry, surveillance technology, and, uniquely among other states, the power to make arrests. Even more concerning, the Guard operates directly under the governor’s control and can be activated anytime the governor deems it necessary for “public safety,” a vague and ambiguous term ripe for misuse.

This should alarm us all, particularly the LGBTQ+ community. Governor DeSantis has consistently portrayed the queer community’s freedom of expression as a threat to public safety. The question that arises then is; how safe can our schools and communities be when the very forces meant to protect us wield unchecked power that could potentially infringe upon our freedoms and safety?

As we strive to ensure that every child in Florida can express their identity without fear, we must stand united in questioning these developments. We must demand transparency and fight for our collective needs over unchecked power.

Let’s embody the motto of Safe Schools South Florida: Be bold, live free, stay woke, and love all. Let’s strive for a Florida that is truly free for all.

Thank you,

By: Scott Galvin
Executive Director

Reported by other news sources as of Sunday, July 17, 2023: New York Times, Tampa Bay Times, The Guardian, and The Miami Herald!

We encourage you to share this information with friends, fellow teachers, and allies and join us in bringing awareness to our efforts. Your support is essential for our ongoing work to create safe spaces for all students, regardless of ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or expression. Please consider donating to Safe Schools so that we can continue advocating for inclusivity and diversity within the education system.