Florida legislative session’s final days have been sullied by an unprecedented barrage of anti-LGBTQ legislation. The Republican-controlled state legislature passed bills that ban people from using restrooms that align with their gender identity, expanded the state’s contentious “Don’t Say Gay” bill to include grades K-8 and that would allow anyone outside of Florida to attempt to ban books in Florida, allow health care providers to refuse to offer necessary care for transgender people, and a bill to criminalize essential health care for transgender youth, care that is supported by every major medical association and leading world health authority.
Bills passed include:
- A bill that would make it difficult or impossible for transgender Floridians to access appropriate restrooms, domestic violence shelters, correctional institutions, or other spaces that match their gender was sponsored by Sen. Erin Grall and Rep. Rachel Plakon.
- A bill to criminalize essential health care for transgender youth was sponsored by Sen. Clay Yarborough (R), Sen. Douglas Broxson (R), and Sen. W. Perry (R) in the Senate and Rep. Randall Fine in the House.
- A bill that would allow health care providers to discriminate against LGBTQ and other groups of patients was filed by Rep. Joel Rudman and Sen. Jay Trumbull.
- A bill that bans any mention of LGBTQ people, history, or issues in school curriculums through the 12th grade was sponsored by Rep. Stan McClain in the House.
“Florida’s extremist lawmakers are working overtime to make their state less free and outright dangerous for everyone, especially LGBTQ people, youth and families,” said GLAAD President and CEO, Sarah Kate Ellis. “They make every citizen and every visitor to Florida vulnerable to discriminatory, baseless criminalization. These bills awaiting the governor’s signature are the work of extremist politicians who prioritize their own futures and fundraising over the concern and wellbeing of their constituents and state. They are solidifying a reputation as a book banning, bathroom banning state, when Florida needs leaders who want all people to be welcome, safe and accepted.”
Today, the legislature passed the Gender Affirming Care Ban.
It overrules a parent’s right to seek lifesaving care for their trans child, criminalizes providers who provide that care consistent with the guidance of all major medical orgs, & restricts access to care for adults. pic.twitter.com/V8P19o7mPL
— Equality Florida (@equalityfl) May 4, 2023
“The ‘Don’t Say LGBTQ’ law has already caused sweeping damage across our state,” said Jon Harris Maurer, Equality Florida Public Policy Director. “It was wrong when it was adopted, and expanding it is wrong now. Books are being removed en masse. Rainbows are being censored from classrooms. Districts are refusing to recognize the historical contributions of LGBTQ people for fear of the Governor’s wrath. This expansion exacerbates the damaging impacts being felt by students and families in Florida. Parents should have the right to ensure their children are respected in the classroom. Our schools should be celebrating the diverse families that make up our communities, not erasing them. Shame on Governor DeSantis and lawmakers perpetuating a political crusade against LGBTQ Floridians.”
“This bill criminalizes transgender people for using the restroom that aligns with how they live their lives every day,” said Jon Harris Maurer, Equality Florida Public Policy Director. “This bill opens the door to abuse, mistreatment, and dehumanization. Our state government should be focused on solving pressing issues, not terrorizing people who are simply trying to use the restroom and exist in public.”
Notable Florida residents have been speaking out against the wave of dangerous and disciminatory legislation, incuding seven-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton who lashed out at anti-LGBTQ measures derided the state’s expanded “Don’t Say Gay.” Basketball star Dwayne Wade and his wife, actress Gabrielle Union, have a 15-year-old daughter, Zaya, who is trans. The family sold their Miami Beach house and moved out of Florida because of anti-LGBTQ laws saying, “I have to make decisions for my family, not just personal individual decisions,” adding, “my family would not be accepted or feel comfortable there.”
STATE: Dwayne Wade revealed he no longer lives in #Florida. The former Heat star and his wife, actress Gabrielle Union, have a 15-year-old daughter, Zaya, who is #trans. Wade said he does not want to raise her in a hostile environment.
— SouthFloridaGayNews (@SFGN) May 1, 2023
Florida preceded the passage of anti-LGBTQ bills with other atrocious legislation, making the state less safe for all its residents, and curtailing the freedom of people to make reproductive choices. New legislation included a bill to allow people to carry concealed weapons and firearms without background checks, training or a concealed license and within hours of it landing on his desk, Gov. Ron DeSantis quietly signed it into law. DeSantis also signed into law an extreme bill approved by the Republican-dominated Florida Legislature to ban abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.
Ron DeSantis Freedom Platform: no singing in the people’s building, no peaceful protests, no LGBTQIA+ people, no honest history, no abortion, no corporate accountability, no affordable housing, no real solutions.
You can’t ban us. https://t.co/OeHQxb87gQ
— Florida Planned Parenthood Action (@PPactionFL) May 4, 2023
- GLAAD and Equality Florida have been tracking Gov. Ron Desantis’ policies, rhetoric and actions targeting LGBTQ people via the GLAAD Accountability Project.
- The so-called Parental Rights in Education bill signed into law last year banned discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity through the third grade in Florida. Lawmakers have now passed a bill to expand the law to include students through 8th grade, in addition to an Education Department policy expanding the censorship through 12th grade. 71% of LGBTQ and ally voters in Florida say the law was designed to attack LGBTQ people.
- An estimated 4.6% of Floridians are LGBTQ and 24% of LGBTQ people in Florida are raising children. 30% of LGBTQ people are Latinx/Latine, 12% are Black
About GLAAD: GLAAD rewrites the script for LGBTQ acceptance. As a dynamic media force, GLAAD tackles tough issues to shape the narrative and provoke dialogue that leads to cultural change. GLAAD protects all that has been accomplished and creates a world where everyone can live the life they love. For more information, please visit www.glaad.org or connect with GLAAD on Facebook and Twitter.