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Truth Wins Out called on Wilton Manors City Commissioners to stop whitewashing the dire situation faced by LGBT residents in Florida.

Instead, they should use their considerable platforms to fight back against Gov. Ron DeSantis’ bigotry and discrimination. As a city with one of the highest concentrations of LGBT people in the United States, Wilton Manors Commissioners should flex some muscle instead of flacking for the status quo.   

“While protecting business interests is important, it can’t blind us to our current political reality,” said Wayne Besen, Executive Director of Delray Beach-based TWO. “The safety of LGBTQ people must come before profits. Equality Florida was correct to offer a travel advisory urging LGBTQ visitors and residents to take proper precautions, until DeSantis’ cloud of darkness lifts from the Sunshine State.” 

Equality Florida released a travel advisory in April, warning Florida residents and visitors to be careful in the current political climate. Instead of amplifying the prescient warning and vowing to fight back against DeSantis, some Wilton Manors politicians myopically downplayed the travel advisory and tried to blame the messenger. 

“They issued an advisory that it might not be safe for them using words like ‘harm’ and ‘assault,’” said Commissioner Chris Caputo. “This has been acknowledged with disappointment by the CVB, our local business community, and many businesses that I’ve spoken to … It’s a little misleading and it’s definitely causing harm to tourism and our local businesses. It’s clear when you read the comments, they have not read the advisory in detail to learn why Equality Florida did it.”

Mayor Scott Newton also soft-pedaled the travel advisory, which places tourists and residents at risk.

“I understand why they said it but at the same time you’re hurting the state of Florida, especially South Florida. I don’t think that was their intention.” 

TWO vehemently disagrees with this assessment and urges the commissioners to elevate their fight against DeSantis. Wilton Manors and Fort Lauderdale should be Ground Zero in countering DeSantis and leading counter offensives.    

“Wilton Manors, as well as Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis, must lead the resistance against DeSantis,” said Besen. “These ‘leaders’ are punching below their weight and signaling to DeSantis that he can brazenly bully the LGBTQ community without consequences. It’s time to answer the call to action and use their positions of power to fight back.”   

Earlier this month, Besen had an op-ed published in the Sun Sentinel. In the piece, he spoke out against canceling LGBT Prides in Florida in reaction to new anti-LGBT state laws.

Founded in 2006, TWO works to eliminate anti-LGBT prejudice and discrimination, as well as all forms of hate and bigotry. We fight against fascism and speak out against right-wing extremism.