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Orlando for Gender Equality takes fight against HB 1639 to the GOP

By staff

Group of activists hold sighs with slogans like "Stand for Trans Rights", "Stop HB1639", and "Not One Step Back"

Orlando, FL – Activists left a rainbow of messages against HB 1639 on the front door of Florida Representative Doug Bankson’s office in Apopka on Friday afternoon, January 26. It was part of an action called by Orlando for Gender Equality to fight back against the wave of anti-LGBTQ bills being proposed by Florida’s right-wing legislature.

Rep. Bankson’s HB 1639 is the worst of the bunch. It tries to erase the legal existence of trans people in Florida by requiring them to use sex assigned at birth instead of gender on their driver’s licenses and ID cards. The bill is also trying to revive the backwards and discredited practice of “conversion therapy” by requiring healthcare plans to cover it.

The ACLU of Florida recently warned that if this bill passes, trans people without access to valid driver’s licenses could be further criminalized for simply “driving while trans.”

Lead organizer with Orlando for Gender Equality Jacob Muldoon spoke at the protest and explained, “Bills like HB 1639 are trying to make queer people second class citizens in the state of Florida. They are trying to take away identification documents, they are trying to take away healthcare, they are trying to take away our flags, but we will not let them! These oppressive bills are a piece in a larger project to remove trans people from public life.”

Protesters lined the street outside the Republican politician’s office and held signs that read, “Stand for trans rights,” “Kill the bill” and “Not one step back.” Their presence was welcomed by pedestrians and motorists who stopped to join in or honked in approval. The loudest chants from the crowd were: “When trans rights are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back!” and “We will not go back in time, being queer is not a crime!”

Madalyn Propst, from Florida High School Democrats, summed up the situation in her speech. “When I came out, my bullies were in the classroom. Now, the bullies are the politicians in Tallahassee.”

Orlando for Gender Equality plans to continue the campaign against HB 1639 with a follow-up webinar on February 3, where they will discuss updates on the progress of the anti-LGBT bills through the legislature as well other ways to take action and fight back.

#OrlandoFL #HB1639 #OrlandoForGenderEquality #TransRights #LGBTQRights