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The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

L.A. County bans official travel to Florida, Texas over LGBTQ policies

Officials said policies and legislation in the GOP-led states were driven by “transphobia and homophobia"

(iStock/Washington Post illustration)
2 min

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted April 5 to suspend all travel for county business to Florida and Texas, citing policies and legislation in the Republican-led states that officials said were driven by “transphobia and homophobia.”

Supervisors cited the February order by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) directing the state to investigate reports of gender-affirming treatments as potential child abuse.

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“To be clear, the directive is not about protecting trans kids,” the board’s motion said. “It is about denying their existence and cutting off access to life-saving treatment.”

In the motion, the board said it included Florida because of the Parental Rights in Education legislation — known by critics as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill — that was signed into law late last month by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R). The law does not allow classroom instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity between kindergarten and third grade, “or in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students.”

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The Los Angeles County agenda item said the law would “perpetuate a culture of bullying, secrecy, shame, and fear.”

“The kind of school environment imagined in this legislation is one that is uncomfortable, unsafe, unwelcoming, and toxic for all students and staff alike, particularly those who identify as LGBTQ+,” the motion said.

Officials in Texas did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In an email Monday, DeSantis press secretary Christina Pushaw called the Los Angeles County decision political and said the governor’s office isn’t worried about any economic impact from the ban. She said Florida saw more visitors in the second half of 2021 than during the same time pre-pandemic.

“The woke bureaucrats running LA County are shooting themselves in the foot with their political grandstanding,” she wrote. “This misguided policy is a punishment for LA County employees – not for Florida.”

The travel ban will be lifted if the Florida law or Texas order are suspended, the county agenda item said.