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Florida to schools: Don't follow federal LGBTQ protections

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Posted at 3:09 PM, Jul 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-02 09:50:37-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida advised school districts to ignore protections for LGBTQ students that President Joe Biden's administration is trying to implement, saying the anti-discrimination language is not binding law and following the guidance could result in breaking state law.

Florida Education Commissioner Manny Diaz wrote to school districts Thursday saying they should not change current practices because of proposed new rules under Title IX that would extend sexual discrimination protections to students based on their gender identity or sexual orientation.

“Nothing in these guidance documents requires you to give biological males who identify as female access to female bathrooms, locker rooms, or dorms ... or to allow biological males who identify as female to compete on female sports teams,” Diaz said.

He added that doing any of those things would “jeopardize the safety and wellbeing of Florida students and risk violating Florida law.”

Last year, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill banning anyone assigned male at birth from participating in girls' or women's sports. This year, he signed a bill that prohibits discussion of gender identity or sexual orientation in public schools at least through grade 3.

Earlier this month, a federal judge in Tennessee blocked implementation of the proposed new federal protections after 20 states sued over the issue.