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Gaming charity fundraiser pulls out of Florida, citing 'Don't Say Gay' law and Covid safety

Since its first event in 2010, Games Done Quick has raised more than $34 million for charity.
A "Say Gay Anyway" rally
Members and supporters of the LGBTQ community attend the "Say Gay Anyway" rally in Miami Beach, Fla., on March 13, 2022.Chandan Khanna / AFP via Getty Images file

A video game charity fundraiser announced Thursday that it would not hold its next event in Florida because of a state law that limits classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity, also citing a "disregard" for Covid safety in the state.

In a statement posted to 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 "increased aggression" directed at LGBTQ people by the state. GDQ did not specify the city in Florida or the venue that had been the originally planned destination for the event.

"While we would love to return in-person, we’ve determined that to provide a safe and welcoming event to all it was best that we move away from our originally planned location in Florida," the statement reads.

Additionally, GDQ said state laws that do not require either event attendees or employees to be vaccinated against Covid, coupled with the anti-LGBTQ attitudes, led organizers to say they "do not believe it is a safe place for our community at this time." GDQ has prominently featured LGBTQ gamers during past events.

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

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

During GDQ events, selected participants “speed run” video games, which is when a player completes a game as fast as possible, sometimes using preplanned routes or glitches to finish levels and sections faster than the game developers likely intended. GDQ live streams the show day and night, with no breaks, during its run.

The organization holds two main events each year: Awesome Games Done Quick, which is held in winter and benefits the Prevent Cancer Foundation, and Summer Games Done Quick, which benefits Doctors Without Borders. GDQ also holds an all-women event, called 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 Parental Rights in Education law was signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis in March. The law bars “classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity” in the state’s public schools, grades kindergarten through third. Those who supported the law's adoption said it wouldn't prevent students from talking about their LGBTQ families or bar classroom discussions about LGBTQ history, but would ban the “instruction” of sexual orientation or gender identity. Opponents of the law, however, say it puts a target on LGBTQ youth in the state and is “pretending to solve a problem that doesn’t exist.”