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New Florida Bill Would Effectively End All Legal Recognition of Trans People

If enacted, the legislation would place Florida among the most oppressive regimes against trans individuals worldwide.

In one of the most extreme acts of the last decade targeting transgender individuals, a new bill introduced on Thursday afternoon in Florida seeks to end all legal recognition of transgender people and mandates mass biological sex affidavits for both transgender and cisgender Floridians. These affidavits would be necessary at the DMV for license renewals, enabling the state to gather records of the biological sex of all individuals in Florida who apply for driver’s licenses. The affidavits could allow the state to compile lists of transgender people with Florida driver’s licenses. They could then be used to enforce other anti-trans laws in the state. Additionally, the bill would impact every law in Florida that references sex, effectively removing all legal recognition of transgender people in the state.

The bill resembles measures in other countries that have ended all legal recognition of transgender individuals, such as Russia in 2020 and Hungary in 2023. Florida has also banned gender-affirming care for many transgender adults, forcing a significant number to leave the state. Similarly, another proposed bill would essentially abolish LGBTQ+ nonprofits in Florida by preventing these organizations from requiring employees to receive training on LGBTQ+ issues. It would, for instance, be impossible to run an LGBTQ+ organization without requiring training around LGBTQ+ issues. If enacted, this legislation would place Florida among the most oppressive regimes against transgender individuals worldwide.

The bill starts by defining “sex” in a way that excludes transgender people and incorporating this definition at the beginning of Florida’s legal code – Section 1.01. It demands that every law in Florida adhere to this definition, effectively eliminating all transgender legal recognition in a single move. It then goes through many areas of code and creates additional policies that allow for the tracking of transgender people’s assigned sex at birth and the enforcement of laws that exclude or criminalize them.

One such section centers on drivers licenses, where the bill states that in order to get a new drivers license in Florida, one must sign a biological sex affidavit. Anyone with a license that does not match the biological sex affidavit would see their drivers license revoked. This would put transgender people in the state in the precarious position of signing the affidavit and allowing Florida to have a record of their transition, or entering their chosen gender and potentially opening themselves up to revoked licenses and criminal penalties.

See the relevant provision here:

Passage in new Florida bill that states that in order to get a new drivers license in Florida, one must sign a biological sex affidavit.

The affidavits would be mandatory for all Floridians applying for a driver’s license. These documents could potentially be used for other means. For example, Florida might use the affidavits to cross-reference with previous gender markers on driver’s licenses, thereby creating a list of all transgender individuals in the state with driver’s licenses. This mirrors an unsuccessful attempt by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who aimed to identify the assigned sex at birth of all Texas driver’s license holders but lacked the necessary data. With this provision, Florida has found a way to procure that data. Furthermore, the affidavits could be used in the enforcement of other anti-trans state laws, such as Florida’s adult criminal bathroom ban. Previously, investigations of a transgender person’s “biological sex” could run into legal hurdles; this bill, however, could enable government officials to consult a database to enforce the bathroom ban.

The bill would also target transgender college students in Florida. It would mandate that data collected and reported by Florida colleges must include the assigned sex at birth of all students. Specifically, it mandates that the colleges identify the assigned sex at birth of “each individual” who is in the dataset, meaning that colleges may also have to collect similar affidavits.

Lastly, the bill affects all other areas of Florida law. Disability rights are impacted, as is employment law. Political commissions with gender designations must treat trans people as their assigned sex at birth. Civil rights law in Florida must do the same.

The bill’s author, Dean Black, is well known for espousing harsh anti-trans legislation and policy stances. In 2023, he decried Jacksonville’s mayor attending Pride, going so far as to suggest that it must be “prevented from happening again” via legislation.

The bill is similar to ones passed by a small number of other states in 2023, but it goes much further than any of them. Montana passed a bill that would “define sex” in such a way to exclude transgender people from all legal protections, but included no enforcement provisions and it is unclear how the state will enforce the law. Kansas likewise passed similar legislation. Though it is similarly unclear on how to enforce the law, the attorney general has filed suit to mandate that Kanas revert all transgender people’s birth certificates back to their assigned sex at birth. A handful of of other states have either passed a similar law or enacted it via executive order: North Dakota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Tennessee.

None of these laws and orders, however, have the enforcement provisions that the Florida bill has. Likewise, these states do not have the same series of other anti-trans laws that, paired with this bill, makes it uniquely dangerous. This bill is the 11th anti-trans bill filed in Florida this cycle. The state, which has been designed one of the worst for transgender people in the country, is showing that it may go even further in its quest to eradicate transgender people from its borders.

According to Follow The Money, several Fortune 500 companies have donated to Rep Black, seen here:

  • Chevron
  • Comcast
  • Eli Lilly
  • Duke
  • NBC
  • HCA

This piece was republished with permission from Erin In The Morning.

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