Target: Senator Lizbeth Benacquisto
Goal: Make it illegal to fire someone based on their sexual orientation.
Florida lawmakers rejected a bill protecting LBGT rights in the workplace. This means that in Florida it is still legal to fire someone for being gay or transgender. The bill is called the “Florida Competitiveness Workforce Act” and intended to add sexual orientation and gender identity as a civil right in Florida. The bill was created so that gay and trans people could try to find jobs and housing without discrimination. Florida is one of 28 states that do not actively protect LGBT rights in the workplace and this must change now.
Five of seven Florida Lawmakers voted down the bill that only intended to make sexual orientation and gender identity a civil right in Florida. Judiciary committee members argued that “someone with male parts” shouldn’t be allowed in places like female locker rooms or bathrooms. The argument was far from the point and had nothing to do with the main focus of the bill concerning the protection of LGBT individuals in hiring and obtaining housing. In fact, even AT&T, Disney, Marriott, CSX, Darden Restaurants, Office Depot and Wells Fargo all support the Competitiveness Workforce Act because they can see the value in equality in the workplace.
Sexuality should not be a deciding factor of someone’s ability to be an effective employee or coworker. Everyone should have equal rights regardless of their private or public sexual orientation or gender identities. Demand that Florida legislators support the Competitive Workforce Act.
Dear Senator Benacquisto,
The “Florida Competitiveness Workforce Act” bill, protecting equal rights for LBGT individuals in the workplace, was rejected five to seven by Florida lawmakers. This means that in Florida it is still legal to fire someone for being gay or transgender.
The bill was created so that gay and trans people could try to find jobs and housing without discrimination, but lawmakers, including yourself, focused on where each person in the workplace would be changing or using the bathroom. The issue isn’t where an individual that identifies as “woman” is going to use the restroom, but whether or not she will even get the opportunity to be employed based on her skills and experience.
Not too long ago, women weren’t seen as “fit” for the workplace. Many took the discriminatory stance that you are taking now against perfectly capable employees. Aware and informed lawmakers of the past made it so that you can have the senator position that you have today, despite your “woman parts.” The LGBT community is asking for the same right that you have; they simply want to use the restroom where they feel safe and work in a place without discrimination.
An individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity does not reflect their effectiveness in the workplace and should not be a reason for them to be fired or denied an opportunity that they could otherwise be qualified for. Support the Florida Competitive Workforce Act and end the misinformed and fear-based inequality within and outside of the workplace.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Liz Lynch