Nadine Smith and the Equality Florida team

After Mme. Storms made her stand against gay pride, there was no doubt a temptation among activists to fight bile with bile. Instead, Equality Florida Executive Director Nadine Smith took the high road. A charismatic public speaker, she urged the gay community not to answer hatred with hatred, but to work constructively. And that’s what Equality Florida has done. Partnering with artists and businesses in projects like “Just Say Know” (see Mary Mulhern’s picks in Best of the Bay/Arts & Entertainment) and reaching out through e-mail campaigns and meet-ups, EF consistently offers strong, reasoned and moving statements about the contributions gays and lesbians make to Hillsborough County and to Florida, and the hurtful effect of a policy that goes out of its way to exclude them. Smith’s positive example makes the Storms troopers look that much more negative and shortsighted by comparison.