‘Kicked out of public life’: Transgender Floridians say new laws are forcing them to leave the state

ORLANDO, Fla. — In a month, 19-year-old Aaron said there will be no public restroom he’ll feel comfortable using in the state of Florida.

As a result, the lifelong Floridian and his family are listing their home for sale and packing up to move out of state.


“There’s no restrooms for me to use in public, so I’m kind of kicked out of public life,” he said.

His family compared it to being pushed back into the closet.

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On July 1, a law signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis will go into effect that says transgender people must use the bathroom that aligns with their biological sex.

That, in addition to another law banning gender-affirming care for minors which also limits how that care can be provided to adults, has transgender Floridians looking to leave the state.

“This is my home,” fifth-generation Floridian, Cat Blackard, said.

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But after her health care provider told her they would no longer be able to provide her hormone replacement therapy, she made the difficult decision to do something she never imagined she’d have to do – leave Florida.

“I feel like a traitor, but I’ve got to do it for my own safety,” she said.

Her provider cited the bill that bans gender-affirming care for minors and says only physicians can provide that care to adults. But her clinic is run by nurses.

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“I had an appointment on Monday. That appointment was canceled,” she said. “My estrogen isn’t just trickling off. It’s ending. Boom. And without estrogen, within about 15 days time, everything I do causes pain.”

Cat said she hopes the hormones she has will last until she can find a provider in a new state.

“It’s just really sad,” she said.

State Rep. Randy Fine co-sponsored both of the new laws.

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“There’s nothing in our bill, nothing at all, that would stop an adult from getting these castrating drugs,” Fine said. “... If it is very important for a man to use the women’s restroom, Florida is not the right state for them.”

He said more people are trying to move to Florida than leave.

“Why these couple of people have chosen to leave, I’ve got no idea,” the Republican said.

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But Cat disagrees. She said these laws were made specifically to harm transgender people, leaving them no choice but to move.

“It’s become functionally unlivable to be trans in Florida,” she said.

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Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.

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