FLORIDA SINE DIE: LGBTQ+ and Allied Floridians Are Turning The Tide

by Brandon Wolf

Dozens of Anti-LGBTQ+ Bills Defeated in 2024 Session

Tallahassee, FL — As Florida’s 2024 legislative session comes to a close, members of the LGBTQ+ community are breathing a sigh of relief that, after years of unprecedented onslaught, dozens of proposed anti-LGBTQ+ bills were defeated. Of the more than 20 pieces of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation introduced in Florida this year, only one made it over the finish line to Governor Ron DeSantis’ desk. The defeat of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation was driven by the tireless advocacy of LGBTQ+ and allied Floridians, who have persevered through years of anti-LGBTQ+ policy attacks and dehumanizing rhetoric.

Geoff Wetrosky, Human Rights Campaign Vice President, National Campaigns issued the following statement:

“Despite years of relentless attacks and dehumanizing rhetoric, LGBTQ+ people and our allies have never given up the fight for Florida. And we are shifting the momentum. People across the state showed up by the thousands to speak out and push back against anti-LGBTQ+ bills; and they are to thank for pushing back the tide of hateful and discriminatory policy. The fight to free Florida from the grip of Governor DeSantis’ devastating and extreme agenda of government censorship and intrusion into people’s lives is far from over. And the devastation he and his allies have caused will last long after these politicians are gone. But the tide is turning. Perhaps the anti-LGBTQ+ fever in Tallahassee is beginning to break. The people will prevail.”

Anti-LGBTQ bills defeated or neutralized this session include proposals that would have banned Pride and other flags from being flown at government buildings, expanded Don’t Say LGBTQ+ restrictions into workplaces, and imposed new restrictions on driver’s licenses and state-issued identification documents designed to undermine legal recognition of transgender Floridians.

This session, the Human Rights Campaign joined local partners and thousands of advocates to push back on anti-LGBTQ+ legislation. Volunteers made countless trips to the Capitol to testify, showing up in force at the Capitol with partner organizations like Equality Florida, Florida Rising, and Floridians Protecting Freedom. HRC helped to organize mobilizations across the state, assisting with travel for those coming from South Florida to Tallahassee. Since January 23, the organization filled over 200 virtual phone banking shifts that drove hundreds of calls to lawmakers to oppose anti-LGBTQ+ attacks.

The stalling of anti-LGBTQ+ attacks this session also came as Republican Senate President Kathleen Passidomo repeatedly expressed her desire to refocus the chamber’s priorities away from the DeSantis culture war agenda. In a February POLITICO interview, President Passidomo responded to the Florida GOP’s list of legislative demands by saying, “Our bill process is not the Republican Party of Florida. We are the Legislature. We make the laws. We review the laws…I’m not going to, because the Republican Party of Florida has a platform, take [a bill] out of a committee or violate our rules.” When hundreds of transgender and allied Floridians hosted a Let Us Live rally on the steps of the Florida Capitol weeks later to protest HB1639, the state’s LGBTQ+ Erasure bill, Passidomo doubled down on her refusal to circumvent Senate rules to acquiesce to the anti-LGBTQ+ agenda.

Despite success blunting much of this year’s onslaught of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation this session, HB1291, the Stop WOKE Teacher Training bill, passed through the legislature and awaits Governor DeSantis’ signature. The bill would prohibit the State Board of Education from acknowledging the realities of systemic racism, misogyny, oppression, and privilege in trainings for teachers, and would implement a vague ban on instruction that “teaches identity politics.” The bill is part of a continued effort by the DeSantis administration and their legislative allies to censor Florida classrooms and muzzle educators.

Civil liberties remain imperiled in Florida. After relentless anti-equality, anti-freedom legislative attacks, the state remains among the most restrictive for the community. Recent sessions have seen Governor DeSantis sign laws that ban or restrict access to gender-affirming care for transgender people of all ages, ban transgender people from accessing bathroom facilities that align with their gender identity in government owned or leased buildings, censor inclusive classroom content, empower the banning of books, target the teaching of accurate American history, and eliminate Diversity, Equity, and inclusion programs at state colleges and universities.

The DeSantis administration has also used executive action to further decimate freedom in the state, weaponizing agencies like the state’s Board of Medicine, Department of Education, and Department of Business & Professional regulation against LGBGTQ+ Floridians. Earlier this year, Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Deputy Executive Director Robert Kynoch penned a memo threatening transgender and nonbinary Floridians with legal consequences should they update their driver’s licenses and identification documents to match their gender identity. The move led to statewide outrage and resulted in protests at multiple DMV locations.

According to the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2023 State Equality Index, Florida is a “High Priority to Achieve Basic Equality,” designating the state as one in which “advocates focus on raising support for basic LGBTQ+ equality, such as non-discrimination protections in employment, housing and public accommodations.”

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.


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