Equality Florida Condemns New DeSantis Administration Policy Denying Legal Recognition, Accurate Driver Licenses/Identification for Transgender Floridians

Equality Florida Condemns New DeSantis Administration Policy Denying Legal Recognition, Accurate Driver Licenses/Identification for Transgender Floridians

Tallahassee, FL — In a move intended to criminalize transgender Floridians, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle published a memo that rescinds a policy allowing transgender Floridians to update the gender marker on their driver's licenses or IDs.

Nadine Smith, Executive Director of Equality Florida, issued the following statement:

“The DeSantis administration’s obsession with scapegoating transgender Floridians has escalated into an outrageous attack that further erodes freedom and liberty in our state. This cruel policy threatens transgender Floridians with civil and criminal penalties and blocks them from obtaining the critical government-issued identification necessary to continue their daily lives. Transgender people have always existed in every culture on every continent and always will. In Florida, tens of thousands of people have legally updated their gender marker on their driver’s license or ID. They carefully followed the rules to ensure their identification accurately reflects who they are, and they trusted this process. Now, an abrupt policy reversal has thrown their lives into chaos. The cruelty of this kind of government overreach and intrusion should alarm every Floridian. These reckless and hateful policies are intended to make the transgender community feel unsafe and unwelcome in Florida and to bully them out of public life entirely.

We know this is a devastating development, and we are working with our coalition partners, our grassroots volunteers and our legal groups to figure out what options are available to fight back.”

These attacks on the transgender community are part of a political operation. It’s manufactured panic from right-wing think tanks who asked what culture war issue would rile people up now that the vast majority embrace marriage equality. From "How a Campaign Against Transgender Rights Mobilized Conservatives" by the New York Times:

When the Supreme Court declared a constitutional right to same-sex marriage nearly eight years ago, social conservatives were set adrift.

The ruling stripped them of an issue they had used to galvanize rank-and-file supporters and big donors. And it left them searching for a cause that — like opposing gay marriage — would rally the base and raise the movement’s profile on the national stage.

“We knew we needed to find an issue that the candidates were comfortable talking about,” said Terry Schilling, the president of American Principles Project, a social conservative advocacy group. “And we threw everything at the wall.”

What has stuck, somewhat unexpectedly, is the issue of transgender identity, particularly among young people. Today, the effort to restrict transgender rights has supplanted same-sex marriage as an animating issue for social conservatives at a pace that has stunned political leaders across the spectrum. It has reinvigorated a network of conservative groups, increased fund-raising and set the agenda in school boards and state legislatures.


Equality Florida is the largest civil rights organization dedicated to securing full equality for Florida’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community. Through education, grassroots organizing, coalition building, and lobbying, we are changing Florida so that no one suffers harassment or discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity.




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