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Florida lawmakers danced in the state House chamber when the House opened for session May 2. The dancing was not related to the passage of any bill.
On one of the final days of the legislative session, Florida lawmakers gathered on the House floor and danced to "Cupid Shuffle."
A day later, Republicans in the Legislature passed a bill banning transgender people from using certain bathrooms that match their gender identity.
The events involved the same people but were otherwise unrelated. But in viral videos, social media users connected the line dancing to trans policy.
"Florida politicians emoted after passing an anti-trans bill," a TikTok claimed May 4.
Another TikTok said, "After banning trans people from public bathrooms, banning trans kids from getting health care, legalizing the kidnapping of trans kids and banning any mention of gay or trans people in grades K-12, Republicans in Florida danced and Democrats joined them."
The caption of one TikTok questioned why Democrats would dance with Republicans after their conservative colleagues passed this bill.
Florida lawmakers passed several bills that affect transgender people, but the dancing was unrelated.
Music is often played on the state House floor before the legislative session begins, state Rep. Anna Eskamani, D-Orlando, told PolitiFact.
The House, for example, played the "Star Wars" anthem on May 4, a nod to the informal May the Fourth holiday the movie’s fans celebrate. ("May the Fourth be with you" is a pun on the famous "May the Force be with you" catchphrase.)
May 2 was Boots Day, a themed day on which lawmakers are encouraged to wear boots. To mark the occasion, the House music started with "Cha Cha Slide," another line dance, before a Democratic lawmaker requested "Cupid Shuffle," Eskamani said.
Many lawmakers got up to dance to the popular group songs in the House chamber’s center aisle.
Eskamani said most of the lawmakers she saw dancing to "Cupid Shuffle" were Democrats, with a few Republicans joining.
"Three minutes later, it was over. That was it," Eskamani said. "It wasn’t after a vote. It wasn’t in the context of a vote. It was literally before the gavel even started things."
The TikTok users appeared to be upset about H.B. 1521, which bans transgender people from using bathrooms and changing areas that align with their gender identity while in public schools, government buildings, state universities and prisons.
It passed the House by an 80-36 vote, with no Democratic support. Two Republicans broke party lines and voted against the measure.
That measure was one of several affecting LGBTQ+ people this session. Lawmakers also passed restrictions on gender-affirming care for transgender minors and adults. A provision of that bill alters child custody jurisdiction law, which has led to unproven claims online that the legislation would allow Florida to "kidnap" trans kids.
In April, Florida’s Board of Education approved a ban on classroom instruction about gender identity and sexual orientation in all grades, expanding the law that prohibited these topics in kindergarten through third-grade classrooms.
TikTok users claimed Florida lawmakers were dancing after passing "anti-trans" bills.
These videos take lawmakers’ line dancing out of context. Some people may be angry that Florida Democrats would dance alongside Republican colleagues at all, given their differences on transgender policies. But the videos leave a misleading impression of how the events unfolded. Lawmakers were not dancing after a particular vote; the dancing happened before the speaker gaveled in the day’s business. The vote on a transgender bathroom bill happened the next day.
We rate this claim Mostly False.
Interview with Florida state Rep. Anna Eskamani, D-Orlando, May 5, 2023
The Florida Channel, "Capitol Update – Nightly During Session – Tuesday, May 02, 2023," May 2, 2023
Florida House of Representatives, "57th Day of Regular Session," May 2, 2023
Florida’s Voice, tweet, May 2, 2023
PolitiFact, "No, Florida can’t ‘kidnap’ trans kids under proposed law, but it does affect custody disputes," May 4, 2023
The Washington Post, "Florida passes bathroom bill in latest wave of anti-trans legislation," May 4, 2023
The Associated Press, "Florida expands 'Don't Say Gay'; House OKs anti-LGBTQ bills," April 19, 2023
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