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The Florida Senate

Minority Office — Press Release


May 17, 2023

CONTACT: Jossie Barroso, (850) 487-5611

STATEMENT: Florida Senate Democrats Respond to the Governor Signing a Slate of Anti-LGBTQ Legislation

Tallahassee —

Today, on International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia, the Governor signed a slate of anti-LGBTQ bills, including an expansion of last year’s Don’t Say Gay bill and a ban on gender-affirming care for minors. In response to these bills, several members of the Senate Democratic Caucus shared these statements:

Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book (D-Davie) said, ‘These bills take us several steps back as a society that’s fought hard for progress and equality. Being gay or trans isn’t perverse. It isn’t dangerous. What’s dangerous is the discrimination legalized today. 

These bills are hypocritical and against the stated values of elected Republicans. They say that they trust teachers, but accuse them of indoctrination. They say they’re for parental rights, but only for the parents they agree with. Let Floridians live their lives freely, equally, and without undue and discriminatory government interference.”

Senator Geraldine Thompson (D-Orlando) shared, “The Don’t Say Gay expansion legislation requires a gulf between students and teachers that doesn’t serve either.  Teachers will not provide answers to questions students have regarding sexual orientation and students will seek information from other sources that usually are ill informed or untrustworthy.  Students will rely on television, social media and their peers for information they should be able to gather from trusted teachers.  If we really promote parental rights, let parents decide what is best for their children related to gender-affirming care.”

Senator Victor Torres (D-Orlando) said, “These bills are mean spirited, unnecessary and won’t stop people from being gay or trans. What it will do is put a target on their backs and increase the instances of bullying and suicides of LGBTQ Floridians.  It will put people like my granddaughter in harm’s way which is why we need to be teaching and legalizing acceptance - not hate.”

Senator Shevrin Jones (D-Miami Gardens) said, “Today is International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia, which aims to increase awareness of violence, discrimination, and repression against LGBTQ communities, and it is shameful that Gov. DeSantis chose today to sign legislation into law that erodes Floridians’ rights and freedoms. These continued attacks on the LGBTQ community and young people are at the center of DeSantis’ misplaced priorities and wildly out of step with where Floridians actually are on these issues. Real leaders look out for the safety and well-being of ALL people, not just some. The people of Florida are looking for results and action from their elected officials, not division and attacks on our freedoms.”