Courtesy Nadine Smith
May 23, 2022 6:00 AM EDT

In the fight for equality in Florida, there has perhaps been no greater advocate for LGBTQ people than Nadine Smith. For over 30 years—most recently as the executive director of Equality Florida—Smith has worked tirelessly to safeguard our rights and elevate our voices, combatting discrimination in employment, housing, and many other areas. Smith comes from a family with a strong civil rights background and has consistently chosen to defend those who are the most vulnerable in our state and across the country. She is a Black, queer woman who has regularly spoken out about discrimination and biases against LGBTQ people when others have stayed silent. With Equality Florida, she led the charge against the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, fighting its enactment through a major civil rights lawsuit as well as a powerful television and social media ad campaign highlighting the potential impacts in classrooms. Nadine Smith refuses to give up in the fight for equality. Her work is an inspiration for LGBTQ organizations around the world, providing a blueprint on how to make progress for our communities through strong commitment and perseverance. She is a powerhouse, a champion of equality for everyone, and a truly incredible humanitarian.

Arnett is the author of the novels Mostly Dead Things and With Teeth

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