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The fight against the “Don’t Say Gay” bill is facing obstacles beyond Republican attacks in Tallahassee.

Turns out, the “friendly skies” aren’t that friendly either.

Safe Schools is planning a rally for Tuesday, March 1, on Miami Beach, and wants to use a banner to help get the message across. But the company that said they would fly the plane is backing out.

Monday afternoon, the organization said the company, Aerial Advertising, said they wouldn’t fly any message with the word “gay.” FlySigns originally accepted the job, and the money, but it appears executives intervened as it moved up the corporate chain. A text exchange shows it comes down to money, with an inference of politics. One of the messages reads, “We’re doing eight million [dollars] a year there and don’t want to piss off any potential clients that have a problem with that phrase for a one-time flight.”

Scott Galvin, Safe Schools executive director, said this doesn’t bode well for groups trying to get a message out on anything that could potentially be deemed controversial. “Did we find [a] Republican company? Is this the new sign of the times? That they’re emboldened by law that they can just say ‘Oh, sorry.’”

According to an order form released by Safe Schools, the original message that was accepted then rejected read, in part, “Defeat! Don’t Say Gay.” FlySigns countered with “Defeat Parental Rights in Education Bill!” and “Defeat HB1557 & SB 1834!” The first is the formal title of the bill and the second is their assigned legislative numbers in their respective chambers. Galvin points out neither really gets the message across of how the bills attack the LGBT community.

“Don’t Say Gay” passed the state House last week and is already moving through state Senate committees.

Galvin said they’re looking for a new air company to fly the banner. They hired two planes to fly over several South Florida sites: Dr. Michael Krop Senior High, Miami Beach Senior High, South Beach, Palmetto Senior High, Felix Varela Senior High, Coral Springs Senior High, Marjory Stoneman Douglas Senior High, Boca Raton Community High, and Wilton Manors.

Protests scheduled for March 1 include urging everyone to wear purple in solidarity, having a lunchtime rally or after-school sidewalk rally, and using hashtags #GayisOkay, #TransisOkay, as well as @SafeSchools1991.

The rally is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Pride Park next to the Miami Beach Convention Center.


Florida House Passes Anti-Gay Legislation