Resistance Report Week 4: An Unprecedented Attack

The attacks on our community escalated this week with a new anti-transgender memo released by the DeSantis Administration. It claims to rescind a policy allowing transgender Floridians to update their gender marker on driver's licenses and IDs.


Transgender people have existed in every culture, on every continent — and always will. This outrageous attack on transgender Floridians further erodes freedom and liberty in our state. The cruelty of this kind of government overreach and intrusion should alarm every Floridian. These reckless and hateful policies are intended to make the transgender community feel unsafe and unwelcome in Florida and to bully them out of public life entirely. 


We know this is a devastating development, and we’re doing everything we can to fight back against it. We held a Virtual Town Hall in partnership with Southern Legal Counsel yesterday to address concerns and answer your questions on what this all means. If you weren’t able to join, you can watch the video here. 

We knew this legislative session would be our hardest yet. But know that your Equality Florida team is going to continue showing up to every fight. And we’ll keep you informed every step of the way so you can have the tools to fight back alongside us. 


This week, we had a group of parents join us in Tallahassee with Equality Florida’s Safe & Healthy Schools and Parenting with Pride Team! These parents are fed up with Governor DeSantis’s agenda of censorship and government overreach that continues to undermine their rights and ability to make the best decisions for their children. So they came to Tallahassee to speak directly with lawmakers and share their stories.

Our ongoing Pride At The Capitol program is a crucial element of our goal to combat and minimize the impact of bad bills and prepare for legal challenges against any that are passed into law.


But this effort relies heavily on pro-equality supporters like YOU taking action. Your presence in Tallahassee, your stories, and your participation in committee hearings are crucial. We're there every day of the 60-day legislative session, and we need you to stand with us on the front lines.  Find a Pride At The Capitol Day that works for you.

If you can’t join us in person, please consider a donation to help us get as many people to Tallahassee as possible. Every dollar counts! 

We will never stop fighting back. And we’ll continue to make headlines by resisting and making our voices heard. 

This week’s WINNER is Representative Gallop Franklin for showing how lawmakers can effectively leverage their professional expertise, along with their passion.  He showed his thoughtfulness and knowledge as a pharmacist sponsoring the important PEP Access bill (HB 159). The bill allows pharmacists to dispense PEP under physician-developed protocols. Thanks to his advocacy, it passed unanimously out of its first House committee. Rep. Franklin also raised insightful questions as a medical professional in his vote against the Trans Erasure bill, HB 1639, earlier this week. 


Rep. Doug Bankson is our LOSER of the week for sponsoring multiple anti-LGBTQ bills this legislative session - including the Trans Erasure bill (HB 1639). During a committee hearing this week, Bankson also made deeply troubling comments about the LGBTQ community and our families by implying LGBTQ people are who they are because of trauma/abuse or because their own parents caused them some sort of harm. Shame on Rep. Bankson for spreading this type of dangerous and harmful rhetoric that only makes LGBTQ people and families feel less safe and welcome in Florida.

Week 4 of legislative session was filled with more movement on bad bills, so we’re going to take you through exactly what happened, what’s coming, and how you can get involved.  

Volunteers From Across The State At The Capitol To Testify Against Anti-Transgender Bills.

🚨 The Transgender Erasure Bill (HB 1639)🚨

Sponsors: Reps. Doug Bankson and Dean Black

  • What it does: The Trans Erasure Bill is a sweeping new assault on the rights and dignity of transgender Floridians that seeks to further disenfranchise the community, create costly new barriers to accessing lifesaving care, and increases Floridians' insurance premiums, LGBTQ or not. The bill requires all health insurance plans in the state to cover the widely debunked, fraudulent and dangerous practice of “conversion therapy”, specifically for gender identity. Additionally, it requires that government driver license and ID card applications collect information on applicants’ sex assigned at birth rather than their gender.
  • What happened: Despite strong opposition and powerful testimony from nearly 30 volunteers from across the state, HB 1639 passed out of its second House committee by a party-line vote. Next, it heads to its FINAL committee stop in the House, the Infrastructure Strategies Committee, before moving to the House Floor for a full vote.

Pride Flag Ban Bill (HB 901/SB 1120)

Sponsors: Rep. David Borrero, Rep. Randy Fine, and Sen. Jonathan Martin 

  • What it does: Flags have historically been used to connect communities as an expression of free speech. The Pride Flag Ban Bill bans public buildings from raising or displaying any flag that represents a “political viewpoint,” including Pride Flags. This is one more part of the DeSantis agenda of censorship. Born largely from far-right activists protesting LGBTQ pride flags on government buildings, it attacks visibility in public spaces and classrooms for all minority groups.
  • What happened: During its first scheduled Senate hearing in the Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee, the bill sponsor presented his proposal and began taking questions from committee members. The committee’s allotted time expired before the bill was put up for a vote and the meeting adjourned abruptly. Unfortunately, this bill is back on the Senate committee agenda for a vote this Tuesday, February 6.
  • How you can help: Send an email to lawmakers on the Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee and the House State Affairs Committee and urge them to vote NO on SB 1120/HB 901. Click here to send messages.

Pride At The Capitol Volunteers Making Their Voices Heard After The Pride Flag Ban Bill Hearing! 

“Criminalizing Sex Ed” Bill (HB 1135/SB 1238)

Sponsors: Rep. Taylor Yarkosky, Rep. Doug Bankson, and Sen. Jonathan Martin

  • What it does: Child sexual abuse is real and devastating. The sweeping “Criminalizing Sex Ed” bill confuses what grooming actually is and trivializes its seriousness. It threatens to restrict information crucial to preventing STDs and unwanted pregnancy for minors and threatens to deny them access to LGBTQ content. It uses broad, vague language and a penalty of up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine to censor a wide range of content in the absence of parental approval. During its first committee stop in the House, after strong questioning led by Rep. Michele Rayner, HB 1135 was amended and narrowed in a way that addresses some of these issues.
  • What happened: HB 1135 PASSED out of the House Justice Appropriations Subcommittee, and SB 1238 PASSED out of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee. Next, it heads to the House Judiciary Committee, its final stop in the House, and the Senate Appropriations Committee on Criminal and Civil Justice, the second of three committee stops.

  • How you can help: We need you to contact members of the House Judiciary Committee and Senate Appropriations Committee on Criminal and Civil Justice and urge them to vote NO on HB 1135/SB 1238. Click here to send a message.

The Defamation & Censorship Bill (HB 757/SB 1780, SB 1086)

Sponsors: Rep. Alex Andrade and Sen. Jason Brodeur

  • What it does: The Defamation & Censorship bills are part of Governor DeSantis's effort to chill any free speech that is critical of the government, punish the media, and reverse Supreme Court precedent. They make it easier to sue the media or members of the public over criticism of public officials and others. SB 1780 specifically undermines efforts to expose sexism, racism, homophobia, and transphobia. Making these allegations "defamation per se'' improperly assumes such claims are false and defamatory.  Racism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia are real, but this bill reduces the evidence that a defendant can use to prove the allegation is true.
  • What’s coming: SB 1780 is scheduled for a vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday, February 5. 
  • How you can help: We need you to contact members of the Senate Judiciary Committee and House Regulatory Reform & Economic Development Subcommittee and urge them to vote NO on SB 1780/HB 757. Click here to send a message.


The Minimum Age for Firearm Purchase or Transfer Bill (HB 1223)

Sponsors: Rep. Bobby Payne

  • What it does: The Minimum Age for Firearm Purchase or Transfer bill reverses gun safety reforms enacted after the Parkland shooting by lowering the minimum age required to purchase long guns, including AR-15s, from 21 to 18-years-old.
  • What happened: HB 1223 PASSED out of the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee. Next, it heads to its FINAL committee stop in the House, the Judiciary Committee.

  • How you can help: We need you to contact members of the House Judiciary Committee and urge them to vote NO on HB 1223. Committee Contact List.

The Juvenile Justice Package (HB 1425/SB 1352)

Sponsors: Rep. Taylor Yarkosky and Sen. Jennifer Bradley

  • What it does: Among various reforms, the Juvenile Justice Package mandates inferior treatment for transgender youth, who would be denied access to programming, services, interventions, and facilities that affirm their gender identities, and would, instead, be classified, under this bill, according to their sex assigned at birth, potentially suffering worse outcomes as a result. 
  • What’s coming: HB 1425 is scheduled for a vote in the House Justice Appropriations Subcommittee on Monday, February 5th. 
  • How you can help: We need you to contact members of the House Justice Appropriations Subcommittee and urge them to vote NO on HB 1425. Committee contact list.

In addition to the bad bills that moved this week or are scheduled to be heard next week, we also need to keep up the pressure on the bills, both bad AND good, that may move later this session. 




We’re keeping up the pressure on lawmakers to support and co-sponsor these bills, and we need your help. 


🏆 The PrEP & PEP Access Bill (HB 159/SB 1320) 🏆

Sponsors: Rep. Gallop Franklin and Sen. Alexis Calatayud

  • What it does: These bills facilitate greater access to medications that are critical to preventing HIV transmission by allowing pharmacists to dispense PrEP and PEP under physician-developed protocols. The legislation recognizes the tremendous scientific advances in the fight to combat HIV and AIDS and allows people to take personal responsibility for their health,an important step towards ending Florida’s HIV epidemic.
  • What happened: SB 1320 and HB 159 were both amended and PASSED unanimously out of their Senate and House committees this week. Unfortunately, the bills were narrowed to remove the expansion of PrEP access to focus solely on PEP access, but the legislation remains an important step forward for HIV prevention. Next, SB 1320 heads to the Appropriations Committee on Health and Human Services and HB 159 heads to the House Healthcare Appropriations Subcommittee.   

  • How you can help: We need you to contact members of the Senate Appropriations Committee on Health and Human Services and the House Healthcare Appropriations Subcommittee and urge them to vote YES on SB 1320/HB159. Click here to send a message. 

🏆 The Health Care Freedom Act (SB 1404/HB 1283) 🏆

Sponsors: Rep. Anna V. Eskamani and Sen. Shevrin Jones

  • Restores Reproductive Rights: Repeals Governor DeSantis’ 15-Week and 6-Week Abortion Bans, reinstating abortion access up until the start of the third trimester, in line with broader medical and legal standards.
  • Protects Medical Care For Transgender People: Eliminates restrictions on essential medical care for transgender individuals, ensuring access to treatments supported by leading medical authorities like the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association.

🏆 Freedom to Learn Act (SB 1414/HB 1355) 🏆

Sponsors: Rep. Michele Rayner and Sen. Tracie Davis

  • Safeguards Academic Freedom: Repeals provisions of the Stop WOKE Act and the “Don’t Say LGBTQ” law, protecting the right to discuss systemic injustices and LGBTQ topics in educational settings.
  • Promotes Inclusive Education: Requires the inclusion of LGBTQ history in public education, alongside Holocaust education, African American history, and women's contributions, and restricts book-banning practices by limiting who can raise objections to school materials to only parents of public school students.

Click here to send a message to lawmakers urging them to support the two Freedom bills. 




Don’t Say Gay or Trans at Work (HB 599/SB 1382)

Sponsors: Rep. Ryan Chamberlin and Sen. Jonathan Martin


  • Expands Don’t Say Gay or Trans to the Workplace: Aims to expand provisions of the Don’t Say Gay or Trans law into public and private workplaces and nonprofits. This alarming expansion of political control and censorship will prohibit government employees or contractors from being required to respect an individual's preferred pronouns if they don’t align with the individual's sex assigned at birth. It also bars them from sharing their own preferred pronouns if not aligned with their sex assigned at birth, which significantly impacts transgender employees’ ability to express their identity. 
  • Restricts LGBTQ+ Nonprofits and Education: The bill seeks to ban tax-exempt nonprofits or employers receiving state funds from conducting any “activities” or training related to sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression as a condition of employment. It also introduces protections for so-called "biology-based beliefs," essentially providing a legal shield for discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals. This could have dire consequences for LGBTQ+ organizations and advocacy groups in Florida, potentially forcing them to cease operations or significantly alter their missions.

Click here to send a message to lawmakers urging them to oppose this bad bill. 

As we continue on over the next 35 days, we must remember that our voices matter, our actions matter, and our movement matters.


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