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TIME honoree Nadine Smith says student activism gives her hope despite wave of anti-LGBTQ legislation

Photo: Nadine Smith
Photo: Nadine Smith

TIME Magazine has named Equality Florida director Nadine Smith as one of its “100 most influential people” of the year. 

WMFE’s Danielle Prieur spoke with Smith about her activism, starting with how she’s thinking about the current wave of anti-LGBTQ legislation to hit Florida, including what’s been deemed by Democrats as the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law. 

Interview highlights

On whether legislation like "Don't Say Gay" is new

"We saw it in Florida with the Johns Committee, which was a committee of the Florida Legislature whose sole purpose was to eliminate to, quote, purge from Florida's educational system, black civil rights advocates and homosexuals, right. And they, they destroyed people's careers, destroyed people's lives pushed people to suicide, they didn't care about the humanity of who they targeted."

On what's being done to push back against the law

"There's a lawsuit challenging the law that DeSantis signed, and there has been advocacy. And the thing that makes me most hopeful is the advocacy of young people."

On what keeps her going

"Well, you know, as a lesbian, who's married, and my wife and I have a child, this hits us very personally. But even more than that, we've seen, you know, as we make progress, we've experienced backlash before. And what's important in the midst of the backlash is not to lose hope."

Danielle Prieur covers education in Central Florida.