Transgender activists in Florida held die-in demonstrations at driver’s license offices across the Sunshine State in protest of a new rule to criminalize changing gender on a license to reflect a person’s gender identity.
Dozens of people showed up Friday morning draped in transgender flags or orange road-safe vests and laid down in lobbies and offices in Miami, Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville, Tallahassee, and Gainesville, according to videos posted to social media. The groups Prism, Youth Action Fund, Equality Florida, Hope CommUnity Center, GLSEN Central Florida and SPEKTRUM Health organized the protests.
“Participants will stage die-ins to underscore the devastating consequences of efforts to erase the transgender community’s legal recognition,” Prism said in a press release.
The activists staged the protests after a recent decision to bar transgender residents from being allowed to change the gender on their driver’s licenses or state identification.
Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Deputy Executive Director Robert Kynoch wrote in a memo to county tax collectors that “misrepresenting one’s gender, understood as sex, on a driver’s license constitutes fraud” and people with licenses that misrepresent their biological gender could be subjected to “criminal and civil penalties, including cancelation, suspension, or revocation of his or her driver license.”
Activists protesting at one DMV could be seen lining up against the wall holding cardboard headstones with various phrases, including “Killed by Ron DeSantis” and “Killed by the DMV,” according to The Advocate.
The Florida Legislature is also considering the What Is A Woman Act, which would prohibit licenses from reflecting a gender that is not a person’s biological gender.
“The term ‘gender’… does not refer to a person’s internal sense of his or her gender role or identification, but has historically and commonly been understood as a synonym for ‘sex,’ which is determined by innate and immutable biological and genetic characteristics,” Kynoch wrote in his memo.
Florida’s residents were previously allowed to submit a court order for a name change or a letter from a physician on gender transition treatment to have their gender changed on their license.
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