Florida legislation prohibiting gender “reassignment” treatment for minors and curtailing it for adults is causing transgender people to leave the Sunshine State.
Since January, GoFundMe fundraisers to help trans people cover moving costs have raised $200,000, the Associated Press reported. The site saw a 39% increase from April to May in fundraisers created to assist trans people leaving Florida.
Sage Chelf, a biological male who “transitioned” in 2021, works as a leasing agent in Orlando, but is now looking to move to Illinois to be with his girlfriend.
Chelf started a GoFundMe page after learning the clinic prescribing his hormone therapy would be ending treatment.
“I don’t want to go back to the person that I was forced to be at the time,” Chelf told AP. “It was a very dark time in my life. I would rather just not be alive, I guess, than have to go back to living not trans.”
The 30-year-old started the fundraiser on May 20 with the goal of raising $2,500 to cover moving expenses. He has raised more than $4,000.
Transgender individuals are also seeking financial assistance from the Campaign for Southern Equality, which is providing grants of $500 for transgender minors and adults in Florida.
In May, three families of transgender children sued the state to block the law from going into effect. They argued the law was unconstitutional since it discriminates based on sex and gender.
“This is a state of emergency for Florida parents, who are already being forced to watch their kids suffer rather than get them the safe and effective healthcare they need and that will allow them to thrive,” the Southern Legal Counsel said in a statement.
The statement continued:
This law ignores science, unconstitutionally inserts the state into family privacy and parental decision-making, deliberately provokes family conflict by inviting challenges to established custody orders, and tramples on the rights and wellbeing of transgender adolescents.
Violation of the law is a third degree felony, which can land offenders in prison for five years.