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Get the latest coverage of the 2024 Florida legislative session in Tallahassee from our coverage partners and WUSF.

LGBTQ Floridians celebrate the end of the legislative session and bills targeting their community

A group of people stand on the capitol steps and hold a large white banner that says not one step back HB 1639.
Equality Florida
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Transgender Floridians, advocates and allies pose for a photo at the Florida State Capitol in February for the "Let Us Live" march and rally.

More than 20 anti-LGBTQ bills failed to pass or were amended to avoid targeting the LGBTQ+ community.

The 60-day state legislative session came to a close last week. LGBTQ+ advocates across the state are celebrating after more than 20 bills they said were aimed at their community failed to pass or were amended to remove language targeting the community.

It’s in stark contrast to last year's results, when six bills aimed at queer and transgender Floridians were signed into law, more than the previous seven years combined.

In response, Equality Florida issued a travel advisory which said the state may not be a safe place to move to or visit.

This year, the organization said the tides were turned.

"Nearly every anti-LGBTQ bill introduced this session failed, from attempts to ban the pride flag and the use of correct pronouns in the workplace to efforts to ban transgender Floridians from obtaining accurate IDs or driver licenses,” said Carlos Guillermo Smith, senior policy advisor with Equality Florida.

He said advocates showed up in droves at the capitol to educate lawmakers on the damage these bills would do to them.

"These things made a huge impact and we need to continue public pressure and opposition against these attacks on the dignities and freedoms of LGBTQ people in order to prevent the attacks from moving forward,” he said.

The legislation advocates failed to stop from passing is SB 1372/HB 1291, which Equality Florida calls the “Stop WOKE Teacher Training” bill.

These bills build on the Stop W.O.K.E. Act, passed during the 2022 legislative session.

A federal appeals court last week rejected restrictions that Gov. Ron DeSantis and Republican lawmakers placed on addressing race-related issues in workplace training. A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the restrictions violated First Amendment rights.

Additional legal challenges are expected.

Smith said Equality Florida and its supporters are also celebrating the passage of legislation that will make it easier for Floridians to get access to a medication that helps prevent HIV infection after a possible exposure.

Smith urged members of the LGBTQ+ community and its allies to remain engaged. He said it's likely many of these bills will return for next year's legislative session.

View Equality Florida's Legislative Slate here.

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.