St. Petersburg’s Nadine Smith is one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in 2022.
She’s also the Black, queer, and female co-founder of Equality Florida, a Sunshine State-based advocacy group fighting for LGBTQ+ rights.
Smith sits on the list with other politicians (including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who Smith publicly opposes) as well as celebrities such as Amanda Seyfried and Pete Davidson.
The panhandle native began her career working with both international and American LGBTQ+ advocacy organization, such as IGLYO – The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex Youth & Student Organization.
“Growing up in the panhandle certainly prepared me for activism,” Smith said “I went to high school in the ‘80s when there were no outwardly gay role models or teaches… It was a difficult time to be yourself.”
Though she’s proud of her Time Magazine nomination, Smith is more concerned with Florida’s red-leaning legislation.
“DeSantis is infringing on our most basic freedoms as Americans,” Smith said. “He was a right-wing, dystopian vision of our state… there was a time when you could disagree with people, but understand the moral basis they were debating on.”
Equality Florida (along with the National Center for Lesbian Rights and others) is in the middle of a lawsuit against DeSantis. The groups hope the legal action will work to overturn the recently passed “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
Smith’s Time piece is written by Kristen Arnett, fellow Floridian and lesbian author of the New York Times’ best-selling “Mostly Dead Things.”
“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,” Arnett writes.
When Smith isn’t fighting for LGBTQ+ equality on the political battlefield, she enjoys camping with her wife and son.