Report Back on the TX and FL Legislative Sessions

June 13, 2023

By Jon Cohen

THANK YOU to those who took bold action over the past few dangerous and demanding months to share your Jewish values with your legislators, values that urge that ALL people, regardless of sexual orientation, gender, or any other identity, be treated with dignity by the people elected to serve them. When people show up together day after day, as so many of you did, the ripples are beyond measure.

And so now that the 2023 legislative sessions in Texas and Florida are behind us, we come together in grief and resolve. We grieve the irreparable harm caused to the LGBTQ+ community, especially to trans people, by the bills passed in both states. These new laws jeopardize the safety of LGBTQ+ Floridians and Texans in both their public and private lives.

We continue to come together in clear-eyed resolve to fight back in every state. We know that these individual laws are not isolated or random attacks but are part of a coordinated national assault on our lives. Working with our partners at Equality Florida and Equality Texas as well as dozens of local and national Jewish community organizations, we will continue to be steadfast in our activism. Keshet staff in Florida and our two new full-time staff in Texas are energized to educate, advocate, and mobilize.

And we celebrate our wins:

  • In Texas, the House version of enacted SB 12 changed the definition of banned “sexually oriented performances” so that it no longer explicitly includes drag performances.
  • In Florida, a more extreme version of the Criminalizing Gender Affirming Care Bill (SB 254) was narrowed to allow trans people to update the gender marker on their birth certificate, enable some trans youth to continue receiving gender-affirming care, and authorize private health insurance providers to cover some services for trans adults. 
  • Just last week, thanks to our friends at GLAD, a Florida federal judge issued a preliminary injunction to block Florida’s ban on medical treatment for trans youth. While the future of this law remains uncertain, the challenge – and the unflinching language of the judge’s injunction – are deeply heartening.

These and many other successes – no matter how small – matter. And they are possible because you refused to give up and persisted with courage and pride. 

As I shared recently on the Keshet blog, I can’t be legislated away. Florida is my home and I intend to stay and continue to fight with the powerful, inclusive, and loving Jewish community that I have grown up with and continue to build. And I am energized, by all of you, to keep bringing the fight to every community being targeted by these terrible bills.

You can read more about the specifics of the wins and losses on our partners’ websites, in Florida here and in Texas here. If you would like to bring Keshet Community Mobilization to your community, please let us know.

Thank you for your partnership in working for full equality for LGBTQ+ people in Texas, Florida, and across the country. This fight is not over.

Return to the Keshet Blog