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Although there are many citywide workplace discrimination protections for LGBT people in Florida, there are no statewide protections, leaving the survivors of the shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, among other members of the community, in a possibly vulnerable position at their workplaces.
Florida is one of 16 states in the U.S. that does not protect those in the LGBT community from discrimination at work. Wisconsin and New Hampshire have laws that only protect people based on sexual orientation but ignore gender identity-based discrimination. Other states only provide protections for LGBT people in public sector jobs, and some states protect public employees from discrimination based only on sexual orientation, not gender identity.
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However, in 2002, Orlando amended its human rights ordinance to include sexual orientation, protecting against discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations. The ordinance was updated to include protections for transgender people in the city in 2014.
Statewide, Florida not only lacks workplace protections, but also housing protections for LGBT people. Florida is among 28 states that fail to provide housing discrimination protections based on sexual orientation or gender expression.
In February, the Florida legislature failed to pass a bill that would have banned discrimination across the state based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing and public accommodation. The measure died on a 5-5 vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Opponents of the bill said they were concerned that men would pose as transgender to use women’s public bathrooms and locker rooms, the Miami Herald reported.
Conversion therapy, a psychological treatment meant to change a person’s orientation to heterosexual, is permitted on Florida minors. The method has been denounced by the American Psychological Association since 2009. Most states still permit conversion therapy on minors, with only five states and Washington, D.C., currently banning it.
In 2010, courts overturned Florida’s ban on gay adoption. A bill that would have allowed private agencies to refuse adoptions to families based on “religious or moral convictions or policies” passed in the state House but failed in the state Senate. Opponents of the bill said it was aimed at LGBT families.
The shooting in Orlando was a violent attack on the LGBT community, but a year after the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people still face systemic discrimination in Florida and around the country.