House Bill 599
A new proposed house bill in Florida would prohibit the use of preferred pronouns that do not correspond to the sex a person was assigned at birth for employees in certain workplaces.
House Bill 599, introduced by Representative Ryan Chamberlain of Ocala, would make it so that an employer cannot be required to refer to someone using preferred pronouns, or any pronoun that does not apply to males or females, in a nonprofit organization or any workplace that receives funding from the state.
If passed into law, the bill would also make it so that no person is required to provide pronouns or label themselves in any way, as to protect those with “religious or biology-based” beliefs.
Additionally, nonprofits or employers under the state, including counties, municipalities and special districts, would not be permitted to have any training or instructional activity on “sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression,” according to the bill.
The bill does not apply to people with biological disorders of sex development, such as intersex people. The bill is based on the ideal that a person’s sex is a biological trait that cannot be changed or altered.
“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,” according to the bill.
We asked the local Marion County Democratic and Republican parties to weigh in on HB599. Here is what they wrote:
From Diana Williams, Chairperson for the Democratic County Republican Executive Committee:
Marion Democrats oppose House Bill 599. It is nothing but an expansion of “Don’t Say Gay” into the workplace. The bill targets the LGBTQ+ community and makes it difficult for transgender individuals to work, and continue to live, in Florida.
As written, the bill is very misleading. What the bill really does is prohibit the use of pronouns in the workplace if the pronoun does not correspond to the person’s sex at birth. Not only is an employer not required to use the pronoun an employee prefers, but an employee is prohibited from providing the pronoun they prefer. So, if you are transgender and working in Florida, you are denied the very basic right of being addressed in the manner you choose.
The bill also prohibits state funding to nonprofits that conduct “certain” training, instruction or activity. The bill does not define the term, but the Bill’s sponsor did. He said that funding would be denied for gender identity or woke training. There is no question that this Bill is an attack on groups that protect gender identity. If passed, the bill would have a detrimental impact on LGBTQ+ advocacy groups.
As Democrats, we support the LGBTQ+ community and condemn any discriminatory legislation that violates constitutional rights. Lest we forget, we live in UNITED States of America and this Bill is divisive. Wishing our congressman would focus on supporting Bills that improve the lives of those living in Florida, this Bill does not. And, let’s emphasize retaining our freedom rather than taking it away.
Stunningly useless legislation.
From Brigette Smith, Chairperson for the Marion County Republican Executive Committee:
The opinion of the Marion County Republican Executive Board regarding HB599: We are either born as a male or female based on our reproductive organs. This biological fact never changes. It is unconstitutional to force people to acknowledge anything otherwise. This bill simply establishes that with any government institution, business or non-profit organization that receives tax payer funding that they would be violating a Floridians’ personal rights by forcing any employee to take a pronoun, gender identity or “woke training” to maintain employment. Furthermore, we believe it’s appropriate that tax payer funded organizations can not require or discipline an employee in an attempt to get them to use pronouns or gender identity in any specific way other than their birth established gender. Obviously there is no disrespect intent to any individual identifying as something other than their biological characteristics, that’s their personal choice. I’m sure that most employees do their best to respect their peers, but on that one occasion when an individual was not addressed by a certain pronoun, that other employee should not be disciplined or be fearful of losing his/her job.