Gambling charity pulls out in Florida, citing ‘Don’t say gay’ law and Covid safety

A video game charity fundraiser announced Thursday that it would not hold its next event in Florida because of a state law that restricts classroom teaching about sexual orientation and gender identity, citing “out of respect” for the state’s Covid safety.

In a statement posted on its website, Games Done Quick, also known as “GDQ,” said Florida’s Parental Rights in Education law, colloquially known as “Don’t Say Gay,” is part of an “escalated attack” on LGBTQ people. from the state GDQ did not specify the Florida city or venue that was originally the planned destination for the event.

“While we personally would love to return, we have decided that in order to provide a safe and welcoming event for everyone, it was best to move away from our originally planned location in Florida,” the statement read.

Additionally, GDQ said state laws that do not require event attendees or staff to be vaccinated against Covid, along with anti-LGBTQ attitudes, organizers said “do not believe this is a safe place for our community at this time.” GDQ has highlighted LGBTQ players in the past. in events

NBC News has reached out to GDQ for further comment on the decision to pull out of Florida.

The next GDQ event is scheduled for January 8-15 and will be held virtually, according to the statement.

At GDQ events, selected participants “speed” video games, which is when a player completes a game as quickly as possible, sometimes using pre-planned routes or glitches to finish levels and sections faster than the game developers probably intended. GDQ offers live performances day and night, non-stop, throughout its run.

The organization hosts two major events each year: the Awesome Games Done Quick, which takes place in the winter and benefits the Prevent Cancer Foundation, and the Summer Games Done Quick, which benefits Doctors Without Borders. GDQ also hosts an all-female event, Frame Fatales, which benefits the Malala Fund.

Since its first event in 2010, GDQ has raised more than $34 million for various charities.

Florida’s Parents’ Rights to Education Act was signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis in March. The law prohibits “classroom discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity” in the state’s public schools from kindergarten through third grade. Supporters of the bill said it would not prevent students from talking about LGBTQ families or engaging in classroom discussions about LGBTQ history, but it would prohibit the “teaching” of sexual orientation or gender identity. Opponents of the law, however, say it targets the state’s LGBTQ youth and is “pretending to solve a problem that doesn’t exist.”

Kalhan Rosenblatt is a youth and internet culture reporter for NBC News based in New York.