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HomeGeneralFlorida GOP Proposes Grooming Bans Amid Multiple Anti-LGBTQ Bills

Florida GOP Proposes Grooming Bans Amid Multiple Anti-LGBTQ Bills

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Pride flag flying alongside the star-spangled banner
Source: US Embassy Montevideo/Flickr

Within the first week of Florida’s legislative session, which commenced recently, Republican lawmakers introduced several bills specifically targeting LGBTQ individuals, exceeding the count of days in the new year.

Some of the bills introduced in Florida during this legislative session are notably extreme. These include proposals to alter the state’s definition of sex and criminalize “lewd or lascivious grooming.” These measures stand out as among the most stringent of the hundreds filed in state legislatures nationwide.

Another bill suggests preventing government employees from being obligated to use pronouns requested by their colleagues. Additionally, a proposal aimed at shielding children from “harmful material” online. However, the vagueness of the term “harmful material” raises concerns among advocates, as it could potentially encompass LGBTQ content.

In a further development, a proposal from Republican state Sen. Jason Brodeur seeks to categorize almost all published accusations of anti-LGBTQ bias as “defamation per se.” This bill would prevent journalists from defending such accusations by referencing the subject’s “Constitutionally protected religious expression or beliefs” or scientific beliefs. Those liable in successful lawsuits under this proposal could face damages of at least $35,000.

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ALSO READ: 5 Countries with Strict Anti-LGBTQ+ Laws

“Florida has, for years, been an innovator of new assaults on freedom and equality, and this year’s slate of bills is no different,” remarked Brandon Wolf, a spokesperson for LGBTQ advocacy group the Human Rights Campaign, who is also a survivor of the Orlando, Florida, Pulse nightclub mass shooting.

He added, “This session, we’ll see escalating attacks on education, medical freedom, and the fundamental right of transgender people to exist as their authentic selves.” A proposed bill by Republican Rep. Dean Black mandates Floridians to sign an affidavit aligning their IDs with the sex on their original birth certificate.

Transgender individuals would be compelled to surrender existing IDs displaying their gender identity and would be unable to obtain such identification in the future. This measure poses significant hurdles for transgender individuals, impacting their access to identification reflecting their authentic gender identity.

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Black’s bill mandates health insurance policies covering transition-related procedures, including “Treatment to detransition.” The proposed legislation requires coverage of conversion therapy in health insurance policies. Specifically, it calls for mental health services to address a person’s perception that their sex is inconsistent with their sex assigned at birth, affirming their birth sex.

The proposed bill further mandates any school district or state agency collecting vital statistics for anti-discrimination compliance or data purposes to identify the birth sex of individuals in the dataset. This provision could potentially limit data collection on transgender people.

ALSO READ: ACLU Records Rise in LGBTQ Legislation in 2023

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Black said the bill aims to answer “The defining question of this decade, ‘What is a woman?'”

“Indeed, this bill only serves to codify that which is already indisputable but has sadly been weaponized by a radical political movement intent on rewriting the laws of nature to fit their twisted agenda,” Black said in a news release.

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