Sex, Sexuality & Gender Issues in Florida

This guide was written by Francine Carrel, Assistant Editor of Guides.Global (office@guides.global).

It was written on 26 October 2016. The law and practice in the US change all the time. Our guides are updated as frequently as possible - typically every three years - but may be out of date.

Our guides are prepared by professionals from many countries. They are, of necessity, both brief and general and can take no account of your personal circumstances. They are intended to be a good introduction to the subject BUT ARE NO SUBSTITUTE FOR PROPER PROFESSIONAL ADVICE, which our contributors will usually be happy to provide upon request.

The advice and opinions contained in the guides are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Guides.Global.

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The scope of this guide

This guide looks at the age of consent, gender equality, abortion laws, gay rights and transgender rights in the US.

It describes, in particular, the situation in Florida. United States law can vary from state to state.

Read also our more general Guide to Sex, Sexuality & Gender Issues in the US.


Typically for the south of the US, Florida is moving forward on some issues of equality and staying put on others. The cities of the state have thriving gay communities - and yet prominent politicians in Florida have often opposed LGBT rights.

So, unsurprisingly, LGBT rights are a hot topic in Florida, especially following the tragic mass-shooting in an Orlando gay nightclub in June 2016. A large conservative population means that gay rights are often opposed in the state.

Age of consent in Florida

The age of consent in Florida - for heterosexual or homosexual couples - is 18 years old.

Close in age or 'Romeo & Juliet' exceptions do apply: minors aged 16 or 17 can have sex with a partner aged no more than 23 years old.

Gender equality in Florida

WalletHub's 2016 index for gender equality puts Florida at 27 out of 50 states when it comes to equality for women (with 50 being the least equal).

The gender wage gap in Florida is smaller than the national average - 85 cents to the dollar rather than 80.

Women in politics in Florida

25% of State legislature seats in Florida are held by women. You can get more information from the Center for American Politics and Women.

Abortion laws in Florida

Maternity/paternity leave in Florida

Florida does not offer paid leave to new mothers or fathers.

US legislation makes provision for 12 weeks of unpaid leave for new parents under the Family and Medical Leave Act. This is a very small allowance compared to most other countries (see below).

maternity leave globally

LGBT rights & discrimination in Florida

Hate crime

According to Equality Florida Action, Inc:

Florida law provides increased penalties for hate crimes based on sexual orientation and has been interpreted to include hate crimes targeting the transgender community as well. Adding explicit protections for gender identity and expression to our state hate crimes statute continues to be a priority.

However, gender identity or expression are not explicitly covered by hate crime legislation.

There were 32 reported hate-crimes against LGBT people in 2013 - but critics have pointed out that many possible hate crimes are not classed as such by investigators.

Expats' Tips

Have you had any experience with any of the areas covered in this guide? Share them by emailing office@guides.global


Conditions for LGBT people in Florida are improving, but there are still problems. Check out the city you're considering for local protections.

Other guides of interest

 Description Link 
Guide to Sex, Sexuality & Gender Issues in the US
A wider picture on these issues
Guide to Sex, Sexuality & Gender Issues in the US

Readers' Comments


Further information?

I hope you have found this guide useful. If you need any further help, please contact me.

Francine Carrel

26 October 2016


This guide was co-authored by John Howell (Email: John.Howell@Guides.Global or John@jhco.org. Web: www.jhco.org or www.Guides.Global)


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