Last night, a memo sent to county tax collectors by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles began circulating on X (formerly known as Twitter). The memo rescinds existing guidance directing HSMV personnel to issue new licenses matching gender identity, reinterprets existing statute to equate gender identity with biological sex, and threatens transgender Floridians with criminal and civil penalties. In response, the Florida Democratic Party has issued the following statement:
“Florida Republicans’ obsession with trans people has to stop,” said FDP Chair Nikki Fried. “Instead of addressing our raging property insurance crisis or out-of-control rent hikes, the GOP continues to pursue blatantly transphobic policies to serve their made-up culture wars. Erasing and criminalizing trans people is absolutely disgusting and can’t be allowed to stand.
“We’ve seen state agencies continually weaponized under Ron DeSantis, and this rule change at DHSMV serves the same purpose as the rest — allowing right-wing extremists to get the wildly unpopular policies they want without having to go on the record as voting for them.”
“The State of Florida should not sanction hate, violence, or cruelty,” said Nathan Bruemmer, President of the LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus. “Transgender Floridians face significant consequences from policies preventing access to accurate identification documents. Being forced to live, work, and contribute in society without accurate, updated identification will have immediate impacts on a community already experiencing harassment, violence, and discrimination at higher rates. Our government agencies must remember that their responsibility is to serve Floridians — not the failed agenda of a power-hungry Governor who is out of touch with the people of Florida.”