BREAKING: Florida House of Representatives Passes ‘Don’t Say Gay or Trans’ Bill

washington d.c. — Today, the Florida House of Representatives passed the Don’t Say Gay or Trans Bill (HB 1557/SB 1834). If enacted, the bill will prevent teachers from providing a safe and inclusive classroom for all. This would prevent teachers from talking about LGBTQ+ issues or people, further stigmatizing LGBTQ+ people and isolating LGBTQ+ children. This bill would also undermine existing protections for LGBTQ+ students.

“LGBTQ+ people proudly exist all over Florida whether politicians approve of it or not — and we are part of America’s past, present, and future. Denying acknowledgment of our existence doesn’t change any of that. », said Cathryn M. Oakley, state legislative director and senior human rights campaign adviser. “The ‘Don’t Say Gay or Trans’ bill is a politically motivated and shameful effort to attack and endanger LGBTQ+ students. The Florida Senate must reject this discriminatory law. »

According to Public Opinion Research Lab (PORL) at the University of North Florida, 49% of Floridians oppose the legislation while only 40% support it. Opposition to the bill is even stronger among younger populations. A majority of Floridians between the ages of 18 and 24 — recent high school graduates — disapprove of efforts to erase LGBTQ+ people from classrooms.

The legislative fight to pass discriminatory anti-transgender legislation has already been fast and furious this year, led by national groups aiming to thwart LGBTQ+ progress being made nationally and in many states. To date, more than 266 anti-LGBTQ+ bills are pending in state legislatures across the country. Of these, at least 125 directly target transgender people and almost half of them (more than 57 bills) would ban trans youth from participating in school sports consistent with their gender identity.

The Human Rights Campaign also opposes the “Stop WOKE Act” (HB 7 / SB 148), another dangerous bill that passed the Florida House of Representatives today. If passed, this bill would limit free speech in workplaces with more than 15 employees and classrooms by censoring honest dialogue about systemic racism, gender and racial discrimination. It would also change Florida’s employment discrimination laws to give employees the ability to file discrimination complaints against an employer who participates in trainings or discussions about Black history, LGBTQ+ issues, and other concepts of injustice and discrimination. HB 7/SB 148 is also heading for Senate committee consideration.

Legislative attacks against LGBTQ+ people

  • In 2021, 25 anti-LGBTQ+ bills were passed in states across the country – 13 of which were anti-transgender laws in 8 states – making it the worst year on record for anti-LGBTQ+ legislation.

  • Over 290 anti-LGBTQ bills were introduced in 33 states in 2021, including over 140 specifically anti-transgender bills. Each of these marks set a new record for anti-equality legislation introduced and enacted in a single state legislative session since the Human Rights Campaign began tracking the legislation.

A coordinated national effort to scare Monger and marginalize LGBTQ+ people

  • Groups like Heritage Foundation, Alliance Defending Freedom, Eagle Forum and others are leading this effort, seeking to use LGBTQ+ rights as a political wedge.

  • These bills are the result of a concerted effort by right-wing organizations that have been fighting LGBTQ+ advances for years. In recent elections, one of the main anti-equality groups working to roll back decades of LGBTQ+ progress has been the American Principles Project (APP). APP and its chief underwriter Sam Fieler have invested millions of dollars to support anti-LGBTQ+ contestants. In 2020, APP spent more than $2.6 million in ad spend to support anti-equality candidates. In Virginia in 2021, APP spent at least $300,000 on digital advertising in support of Glenn Youngkin’s gubernatorial campaign.

  • Restoration PAC, run and funded by leading anti-LGBTQ+ financier Dick Uihlein, spent at least $1.9 million on advertising across Virginia in support of Youngkin and donated $942,000 to the political wing of anti-abortion group Women Speak Out Virginia. Anti-equality group Free to Learn Action launched a million-dollar ad campaign spreading widely debunked anti-transgender misinformation in support of Youngkin’s campaign.

Anti-transgender attacks as a topic of political discussion

Businesses, advocacy groups and athletes oppose anti-trans legislation

  • More than 150 major American companies have stood up and spoken out in opposition to proposed anti-transgender legislation in states across the country. Companies like Amazon, American Airlines, Apple, AT&T, AirBnB, Dell, Dow, Google, IBM, Lyft, Marriott, Microsoft, Nike and Paypal have objected to these bills. Four of America’s largest food companies also condemned “dangerous and discriminatory legislation that serves as an attack on LGBTQ+ people, especially transgender and non-binary people,” and the The Walton Family Foundation released a statement expressing “alarm” at the trend of anti-transgender legislation that recently became law in Arkansas.

  • Many are rightly protecting the legacy of women’s sport in this country, and a strong Title IX is at the heart of that legacy. It is important to note that advocates for women and girls in sport – such as the National Women’s Law Center, Women’s Sports Foundation, Women Leaders in College Sports and others – support inclusive policies and oppose efforts aimed at excluding transgender students from sports participation. The same goes for top female athletes including Billie Jean King, Megan Rapinoe and Cheryl Reeve. Indeed, while women’s sports face real challenges, including a lack of resources dedicated to supporting them, transgender participation in athletics is not one of them.

  • The nation’s leading child health and welfare groups, representing more than 7 million youth-serving professionals and more than 1,000 child welfare organizations, have released an open letter calling on state legislators countries to oppose dozens of bills targeting LGBTQ+ people and transgender children in particular.

  • Nearly 550 college athletes have resisted anti-transgender legislation demanding that NCAA championships be removed from states that have enacted anti-trans sports laws.

Trans equality is popular across all demographics

  • The reality is that, as sensational and polarizing as this issue may seem, public opinion polls across the country have shown strong support for inclusive and pro-equality policies:
    • Recent PRRI data shows that a large majority of Americans (82%) support laws that protect LGBTQ+ people from discrimination in jobs, public accommodations and housing, and majorities of Republicans (67%), independents (85%) and Democrats (92%) support non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ Americans.

    • A PBS/NPR/Marist Poll says 67% of Americans, including 66% of Republicans, oppose anti-transgender legislation banning sports that is proliferating in 30 states.

    • In a poll of 10 swing states conducted by the Human Rights Campaign & Hart Research Group in 2020 showed:

  • At least 60% of Trump voters in each of the 10 swing states say transgender people should be able to live freely and openly.

  • At least 87% of respondents in each of the 10 swing states say transgender people should have equal access to medical care, with many states exceeding 90% support

  • When respondents were asked how they prioritized the importance of banning transgender people from participating in sports over other political issues, the question came last, with between 1% and 3% prioritizing at the question.

  • Another survey conducted by the Human Rights Campaign & Hart Research Group found that when it comes to transgender youth participation in sports, the strong public tilt is on the side of fairness and equality for transgender student-athletes. 73% of voters agree that “sport is important in the lives of young people. Young transgender people should have the opportunity to participate in a way that is safe and comfortable for them.

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

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