'Don't Say Gay' Bill Prompts NYC to Encourage LGBTQ People to Move North

New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced a new campaign Monday inviting members of Florida's LGBTQ community to come to New York after the "Don't Say Gay" bill was signed into law.

The digital billboard campaign encourages people who are opposed to the controversial law to "come to the city where you can say whatever you want." According to the mayor's office, it will be promoted in five Florida markets.

The bill was nicknamed after a section that says it prohibits "classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in certain grade levels or in a specified manner." The bill, which Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law last week, has sparked anger from many LGBTQ activists, celebrities and companies such as Disney.

At a Monday news conference at New York City Hall, Adams said the city does not shy away from talking about LGBTQ issues. He called New York "the city of Stonewall," referring to the 1969 demonstrations at the Stonewall Inn that many refer to as the "catalyst for the gay rights movement in the United States and around the world," according to the History Channel.

"This political showmanship of attempting to demonize a particular group or community is unacceptable," Adams said. "And we are going to loudly show our support and say to those who are living in Florida: 'We want you here in New York.'"

The billboard campaign will go on for eight weeks and will specifically target Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa and West Palm Beach, Adams said. He estimated the campaign will make about 5 million impressions.

The "Don't Say Gay" bill, formally known as the Parental Rights in Education bill, says students between kindergarten and third grade are not allowed to learn about sexual orientation or gender identity in their classrooms. DeSantis previously said the legislation makes sure "parents can send their kids to school to get an education, not an indoctrination."

The bill also prohibits school officials from withholding from parents "information related to a student's mental, emotional, or physical health or well-being," unless revealing the information poses a risk of the student being subject to "abuse, abandonment or neglect." If parents find the school to be in violation of these rules, they can sue the school district.

The law has received widespread criticism, with the Walt Disney Company saying its goal is to have the state Legislature repeal it or to have it struck down in the courts. However, state Representative Anthony Sabatini previously told Newsweek doing so could lead to Disney losing its government perks, causing "a living hell" for the company.

Florida parents have already begun to express their concerns following the bill's signing, with one teacher who wore a T-shirt saying "Protect trans kids" receiving complaints from parents and being asked to change, Newsweek reported last week.

At the news conference, Adams said New York is "proud to talk about how you can live in a comfortable setting and not be harassed, not be abused—not only as adults, but also as young people."

"Other folks want people to hide their color," Adams said. "We like to show our color, and that's the rainbow that's representative of this community."

Governor DeSantis' office did not immediately respond to Newsweek's request for comment.

Update 04/04/22 2:40 p.m. ET: This story was updated to add more information and background.

NY Invites Florida LGBTQ Community to Move
New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced a digital billboard campaign telling Floridians who are opposed to the "Don't Say Gay" bill to come to New York. Above, Adams speaks onstage at the 36th Annual Brooklyn Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at Brooklyn Academy of Music on January 17 in New York City. Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for Brooklyn Academy of Music