Lawmakers in Florida have proposed a bill that would see using a trans+ student’s preferred name and pronouns effectively banned in schools.
Filed on 28 February, House Bill (HB) 1223 would expand the state’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ legislation – officially known as the Parental Rights in Education law – and seeks to define “sex” as “the binary division of individuals based upon reproductive function.”
Public employees would be restricted from referring to their pupils with names and pronouns that do not correspond with what they were assigned at birth, which would force teachers to misgender trans and non-binary students.
“It shall be the policy of every public K-12 educational institution that is provided or authorised by the constitution and laws of Florida, that a person’s sex is an immutable biological trait, and that it is false to ascribe to a person a pronoun that does not correspond to such person’s sex,” part of the legislation states.
It continues: “An employee, contractor, or student of a public K-12 educational institution may not be required, as a condition of employment or enrollment or participation in any program, to refer to another person using that person’s preferred personal title or pronouns if such personal title or pronouns do not correspond to that person’s sex.”
HB 1223 was proposed by Republican state representative Adam Anderson with support from Randy Fine, a fellow Republican representative.
“Florida is not going to be in the stupid pick-your-own pronouns fantasy that the woke left wants to waste our time with,” Fine said, according to WESH.
LGBTQ+ advocacy group Equality Florida condemned the bill and warned against the “moral panic” it could create for members of the community.
“Don’t Say LGBTQ policies have already resulted in sweeping censorship, book banning, rainbow Safe Space stickers being peeled from classroom windows, districts refusing to recognize LGBTQ History Month, and LGBTQ families preparing to leave the state altogether,” said Jon Harris Maurer, the organisation’s Public Policy Director.
“This legislation is about a fake moral panic, cooked up by Governor DeSantis to demonize LGBTQ people for his own political career.
“Governor DeSantis and the lawmakers following him are hellbent on policing language, curriculum, and culture. Free states don’t ban books or people.”
What is the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill?
‘Don’t Say Gay’ was signed into law in Florida in March 2022 and restricts “classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students.”
New research from the UCLA School of Law confirmed that the legislation has already had an impact on the lives of LGBTQ+ people in the state.
The data, which was released in January 2023, found that 17 per cent of LGBTQ+ parents had already taken the necessary actions to move elsewhere.
Almost nine out of 10 also express concern over the effects the legislation could have on their family.