Republican lawmakers in Florida have been slammed for passing a series of extreme bills targeting the state’s queer communities.
The three bills crack down on public pride parades, businesses hosting queer events and gender-affirming care.
The SB254 bill bans all age-appropriate gender-affirming care for children, as well as severely restricting it for adults.
It also allows children “subjected” to or even “at risk” of gender-affirming health care to be removed from supportive parents.
‘Direct threat to transgender Floridians’ safety’
ACLU Florida’s Kara Gross said the state’s assault on transgender people as “hateful, extreme and unprecedented.”
“It is shameful that our Florida Legislature continues to pass dangerous bills designed to silence, harm, and erase trans people in Florida,” she said.
“This is state sanctioned discrimination against Florida’s vibrant trans community.”
HB1521 is a “bathroom bill” banning businesses from providing gender-inclusive restrooms and changing facilities.
The ACLU warns the hateful bills make it “impossible for transgender people to go about their daily lives like everyone else”.
“These bills directly threaten transgender Floridians’ fundamental human rights and safety,” Kara Gross said.
“The Florida Legislature’s insistence on targeting trans people is bizarre, unnecessary, unconstitutional, and extremely dangerous.”
Florida law cracks down on Pride Parades
Meanwhile, SB1438 allows the state to crack down – and even shut down – businesses hosting queer-friendly shows or drag performances.
It also gives Florida the power to prohibit minors from attending events it deems “inappropriate.”
Advocates warn if Republican governor Ron DeSantis signs that bill into law, it would mean the end of public Pride parades in the state.
Already, a local group, Pride of the Treasure Coast, cancelled its weekend parade and restricted its PrideFest event.
“As all of you know, the political climate that we are currently in has us all very concerned for our community,” the group said.
However after “multiple meetings” with their city officials, the group axed the parade. They also restricted the PrideFest event to ages 21 and over.
“We are obviously upset and disheartened that it has come to this,” the group said.
‘Our resistance is needed’
Equality Florida said even before the hateful bill was signed into law, “its bigoted effects are already being felt.”
“Our resistance is needed now more than ever,” they said.
“Our visibility is needed. Drag art is needed. PRIDE is needed. It’s time to raise our flags higher than ever before.”
It comes after Florida also recently expanded its reviled “Don’t Say Gay” law prohibiting school discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity to all year levels.
SB 1438 has not yet been signed into law. But its bigoted effects are already being felt.
Our resistance is needed now more than ever. Our visibility is needed. Drag art is needed. PRIDE is needed.
It’s time to raise our flags higher than ever before.
— Equality Florida (@equalityfl) April 20, 2023
For the latest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.