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A survey shows most trans and nonbinary Floridians considered leaving the state

Daylina Miller
WUSF Public Media

The Human Rights Campaign surveyed more than 14,000 people nationally. In Florida, the majority have thought about or made plans to leave the state.

Bans and limitations on gender-affirming care across the country are having a chilling effect on LGBTQ+ Americans.

A national survey by the Human Rights Campaign is singling out Florida for how the transgender and nonbinary community is affected.

The HRC surveyed more than 14,000 LGBTQ+ adults across the country. One-third said they would move or have taken steps to move from a state like Florida that has passed a gender-affirming care ban.

That number jumps to more than 80% for trans and nonbinary Floridians.

Brandon Wolf with Equality Florida said state lawmakers are being short-sighted.

"I hope that some of them are willing to pause and think about the economic damage that they've done by driving people from our state by waging war on educators and families and students."

Back in April, Gov. Ron DeSantis' former press secretary cheered on news that queer people were fleeing the state.

"You don't build a state long term, you don't build a sustainable economy, by saying good riddance to a large swath of the population,” Wolf said.

“It's just really short-sighted on the part of the administration to not see the value in welcoming all people and being a state that's inclusive of everyone."

This year's legislative sessions saw more than 550 anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced in 43 state houses across the country, with over 80 bills signed into law. About 200 of them target transgender and nonbinary people, and youth in particular.

Related: What to know about gender-affirming care for trans youth as Florida weighs more restrictions

In Florida, gender-affirming care for youth was banned, unless those minors were already receiving care. New informed consent forms and other restrictions on care also limit trans adults’ care, critics say.

Trans and nonbinary people are also restricted from using bathrooms in government-owned buildings, including college campuses. Public colleges will now be required to penalize employees who use a bathroom that doesn’t align with their gender assigned at birth. It’s unknown how students could be penalized.

In June, the HRC officially declared a state of emergency for LGBTQ+ people in the United States for the first time in its more than 40-year history.

Last week, Canada updated its travel advisory to the U.S., warning members of the LGBTQ+ community that some American states have enacted laws that may affect them.

I took my first photography class when I was 11. My stepmom begged a local group to let me into the adults-only class, and armed with a 35 mm disposable camera, I started my journey toward multimedia journalism.