The Florida Legislature has doubled down on its attacks on LGBTQ Floridians by advancing a draconian bill that threatens doctors with 15 years in prison for providing life-saving care to transgender youth.
The “Transgender Medical Care Ban” bill (HB 1365) has been scheduled for a vote in the Florida House Health Quality Subcommittee on Monday, February 3 at 3:00pm ET. The only other state to move this dangerous legislation forward is South Dakota.
“The same Republican leadership that refuses to hold a vote on a bill that secures basic rights for LGBTQ Floridians has instead decided to advance a bill that endangers transgender children,” said Joe Saunders, Equality Florida’s Senior Political Director. “The targeting of the transgender community is all the more shameful given Florida’s recent history of deadly violence against the trans community. In less than two years, seven Black trans women have been brutally murdered in our state. Leadership should denounce anti-trans hate and violence and oppose legislation that puts transgender youth at risk.”
This bill is the most egregious of a slate of anti-LGBTQ bills introduced this session. Its scheduling comes at a time when national headlines are reporting businesses like Fifth Third Bank, Wells Fargo, and Wyndham Destinations have withdrawn support of Florida’s private school voucher program after discovering some of the program’s beneficiaries have anti-LGBTQ policies in place.
Business leaders across the nation agree that discrimination is bad for business. When states seek to discriminate against the LGBTQ community there has been widespread, social and economic backlash. Anti-LGBTQ policies have cost states like Georgia, Texas, and, most notably, North Carolina hundreds of millions of dollars and have inflicted lasting damage to the states’ tourism industries.
Yet, year after year, Republican leadership continues to block a bill that would provide comprehensive, statewide nondiscrimination protections for the LGBTQ community. The Florida Competitive Workforce Act (SB 206/HB 161) has consistently garnered tremendous bipartisan support with 61 Democratic and Republican sponsors and cosponsors for the 2020 legislative session. Currently, comprehensive local non-discrimination protections that include gender identity and sexual orientation cover 60% of Florida’s population. Leading Florida businesses like Disney, Darden, Tech Data, and Marriott support the Florida Competitive Workforce Act because they know these protections are essential for attracting and retaining top talent.
Rather than targeting the state’s most vulnerable youth and putting their lives at risk, Florida legislators should forcefully reject anti-trans violence and pass comprehensive protections for the LGBTQ community.
Equality Florida is the largest civil rights organization dedicated to securing full equality for Florida’s LGBTQ community. Through education, grassroots organizing, coalition building, and lobbying, we are changing Florida so that no one suffers harassment or discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity.