Bills targeting the LGBTQ community are ready for a vote in the Florida House

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Florida House of Representatives
Members of the Florida House of Representatives work during a legislative session at the Florida State Capitol, Monday, March 7, 2022, in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

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On Tuesday, two bills targeting the LGBTQ community were cleared for a vote by the full Florida House.

The first bill, referred to as the “bathroom bill,” requires transgender people to use bathrooms that correspond to their assigned gender at birth. The bill is sponsored by Republican Representative Rachel Plakon.

“If a person enters the restroom and another person believes them to be in the wrong facility under this bill they can ask them to leave”

The bill faced questions, with one in particular from Democratic Representative Rita Harris.

“If I accuse you of being trans and you don’t leave, I don’t understand how that is enforced. Who comes to you and tells you that you are arrested and who keeps you there until the police get there to tell you you’re arrested? I don’t understand how all that works. So, I’m asking you, how does that work?

I believe that’s been asked and answered, but if the person who is asked to leave does not leave, then at the point the other person can get an owner or manager, and if they still refuse to leave then law enforcement can be called at the point.”

Another bill, sponsored by Republican Representative Randy Fine, provides criminal penalties for venues allowing children at what the bill calls “adult live performances”. Many legislators, including Democratic Representative Ana Eskamani, believe that this is targeting drag shows.

“Do you consider drag shows to be in the definition of your bill?

The reason, if I had wanted to do that I’m not afraid to say what I think, and the reason we did not do that is you cannot say, as a matter of course, that two words equal something.”

Democratic Representative Angie Nixon proposed an amendment renaming the bill “the homophobic and transphobic bill”, which did not pass.

“This bill insults an entire community. Which is why I wanted to change that name. At the end of the day, the bill sponsor has said some very hurtful and insulting things to community members of the LGBTQ community, to members in the back rows, to me myself.”

Both bills will be voted on in the full House.

A third bill will also be considered Wednesday.

The House is expected to pass a bill, SB 254, that would prevent doctors from providing treatments such as puberty blockers and hormone therapy to transgender minors. The Senate has passed the bill, but the House made changes Tuesday, which would require the measure to go back to the Senate for another vote.

Protesters opposed to the bills interrupted House debate Tuesday and also rallied against the measures outside the House chamber.

information from News Service of Florida was used in this report

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