TALLAHASSEE, FL — The Florida House Select Committee on Health Innovation voted to advance House Bill 1639 (HB 1639), which seeks to deny the legal existence of transgender individuals by requiring individuals to identify as their sex assigned at birth instead of their gender on their driver’s licenses and ID cards. The bill requires health plans to cover the widely discredited practice of conversion therapy and creates additional obstacles for health plans to cover gender-affirming care.
The ACLU of Florida opposes this bill and a related bill, Senate Bill 1324 (SB 1324). The Senate Committee on Transportation will vote Tuesday on SB 1324, increasing criminal penalties for driving without a license. If these bills pass, it could result in criminalization for driving while trans.
Kara Gross, legislative director and senior policy counsel at the ACLU of Florida, responded with the following:
“The anti-trans bill, HB 1639, seeks to deny the legal existence of transgender individuals by requiring that individuals provide their sex assigned at birth instead of their gender on their driver's license and government identification cards.
“Additionally, the bill requires health care plans to cover the cruel practice of conversion therapy. Conversion therapy has been widely discredited by the medical establishment and has a long history of subjecting people to physical, emotional, and psychological harm. Moreover, the bill creates additional obstacles for health plans to cover gender-affirming care.
“HB 1639 is silent on the consequences for transgender individuals who identify their gender on their driver's license or other government-issued identification instead of their sex assigned at birth. Will their license be revoked? Will they no longer be able to hold a valid driver's license? If they drive with a license that indicates their gender and not their sex assigned at birth, will they be subject to criminal penalties?
“If this seems far-fetched, one need only look to a similar bill filed in the House, HB 1233, which explicitly provides that trans individuals’ licenses will be revoked and not renewed if they do not indicate sex assigned at birth.
“These bills seek to erase transgender Floridians from public life by preventing them from being able to hold a valid driver's license unless and until they indicate on their driver's license their sex assigned at birth. But wait, there’s more: this legislature is not satisfied with erasing trans identity, they are also intent on criminalizing trans existence through SB 1324, which would increase criminal penalties for driving without a valid license. This could undoubtedly lead to the criminalization of simply ‘driving while trans.’
“This repressive legislature is not only trying to censor the very existence of trans individuals, it is one bill away from threatening their very existence by forcing them to choose between their gender identity or criminalization, simply for not conforming to the rigid gender classifications imposed by the majority in the legislature.
“All Floridians deserve to live freely and openly. This legislature should stop wasting our tax dollars on harmful bills and start focusing on helping Floridians.”