Republican Lawmakers in Florida Want to expand “Don’t Say Gay” to the workplace

Republican Lawmakers in Florida Want to expand “Don’t Say Gay” to the workplace

A Republican politician in Florida wants to expand the oppressive “Don’t Say Gay” law that currently pervades the Florida educational system into the workplace. In late November, state Rep. Ryan Chamberlin introduced the bill which would ban government employees from changing their pronouns and also ban their co-workers from being required to use their preferred pronouns.

The bill, HB 599, would also ban the penalization of employees on the “basis of deeply held religious or biology-based beliefs.” And if that wasn’t enough, it would also prevent nonprofits or employers receiving state funds from requiring employees to undergo training on matters of sexual/ gender identity or gender expression, according to reports from Rolling Stone. 

Chamberlain’s bill states “it is the policy of the state 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.”

Essentially, the bill gives government employees the right to discriminate based on religious or “biology-based” beliefs, and threatens to eliminate the work of LGBTQ+ organizations throughout the state, while also threatening crucial educational opportunities in the workplace. Non profits that benefit the health of the LGBTQ+ community, like Planned Parenthood, could be targeted. 

The bill’s sentiments are undoubtedly inspired by the same rhetoric behind Gov. Ron DeSantis’ “Don’t Say Gay” law, which prohibits education on LGBTQ+ topics in Florida classrooms. Since being passed, many similar bills have been proposed including a bill with the same proposition on a federal level. 

Independent trans journalist Erin Reed said the bill would be “a blatant power grab by the state targeting organization critical to the government and would further drive LGBTQ+ activism and organizing underground in the state.” Reed predicts this bill is just the first in a slew of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation that will be introduced 2024.

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