New anti-LGBTQ policies, notably those affecting trans persons, were signed into law by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Wednesday. The Republican governor introduced the legislation as a reaction to radicalism.
On the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia, he signed a package of anti-LGBTQ+ measures. He pledged at a Christian school to transform Florida into a “citadel of normalcy.”
House Bill 1069, which increases the state’s “don’t say gay” statute through legislation; Senate Bill 254, which prohibits gender-affirming care, House Bill 1521, which limits access to sure toilets for transgender persons; and House Bill 1423, which bans drag shows, are the bills that have been signed into law.
New legislation forbids medical professionals from giving gender-affirming care to kids, while another law threatens the business licenses of venues that let youngsters attend drag acts. Republicans Clay Yarborough and Randy Fine had championed both bills in the Florida Senate and House, respectively. Both statutes are effective immediately.
He also approved a measure extending the state’s divisive “don’t say gay” rule through eighth grade, making it illegal to teach about se*ual orientation or gender identity in the classroom. If that’s the case, the Board of Education that DeSantis appointed has already banned the discussion of those issues until after students graduate from high school.
A law requiring separate facilities for men and women in Florida’s public buildings was also signed into law by him. The law also allows more people outside of Florida to file challenges to books used in classrooms or kept on library shelves. It removes books quickly after objections claiming material is politically problematic or se*ual, despite creating an appeal process for placing publications back into circulation.
On July 1st, the new law will go into effect. On the House floor, where he presented his anti-LGBTQ measures, Fine used apocalyptic language to describe transgender individuals. It was a refrain: “There is evil in this world,” he declared, “and we face it here today.”
Fine has been a vocal opponent of Pride events on Florida’s Atlantic coast, explicitly targeting Space Coast Pride. He sought to cancel the event, but organizers had already invited families to come to see a drag queen read a story.
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The prohibition on drag shows impacted local culture long before it was officially implemented. A procession was scrapped, and only individuals over 21 were allowed inside a Port St. Lucie Pride celebration.
To erase the existence of the LGBTQ community, Fine implied that minors were being recruited into gay identities during the current parliamentary session. If “erasing a community” means focusing on children, then “damn right,” we should do it. They are stated in an April committee meeting by Fine.
When advocating for the law, Yarborough was far less vitriolic. He and Fine claimed the measure was directed at drag shows, although it prohibits any se*ually suggestive elements in live adult performances, including the use of artificial breasts. The actual n*dity in strip shows is already illegal for children in Florida.
Yarborough said on the Senate floor that the bill might include live theater productions of Tootsie and “Rocky Horror Picture Show” reenactments. Republican senators have said the bill does not interfere with parents’ rights to decide whether or not to take their children to see dr@g shows.
Under this measure, businesses and employees knowingly allowing minors inside their establishments would be at risk. This year’s “A Drag Show Christmas” event was held at a different site, but the DeSantis administration still went after the hotel’s liquor license.
DeSantis also signed a bill that criminalizes providing puberty-blocking medications or surgical procedures to adolescents who identify as the other gender. The new law enacts limits that had previously been placed in place by a Board of Medicine appointed by DeSantis.
The law may make it easier to press child abuse charges against parents of transgender children. House language prohibiting insurers from providing such care for anyone, including adults, was ultimately omitted.
Still, the plan is otherwise similar to those passed by Republican legislatures nationwide. It allows the government to intervene in private family conflicts over child care when the parents are in different states. Florida will only recognize a person’s gender as assigned at birth, per the bill’s revised definition of se*.
Here is Karine Jean-Pierre tweet, check out below:
Yesterday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed four anti-LGBTQI+ bills into law, including one that explicitly targets parents and physicians for supporting young people. These are the latest of dozens of extreme anti-LGBTQI+ bills that have become law in states across the…
— Karine Jean-Pierre (@PressSec) May 18, 2023
During the House discussion, Fine refused to use the term “gender-affirming care” and referred to puberty blockers as “castration dr*gs.” Although all medical groups opposed the ban, DeSantis labeled the experts who testified against the ban as “rogue elements of the medical establishment.”
DeSantis argued that the law would permanently prohibit the mutilation of kids. It states that “any adult receiving the surgeries must be informed of the irreversible nature. and about the dangers of the procedures,” it bans the use of surgical procedures and experimental puberty blockers on children.
Safe medical care for transgender people exists. Transgender people, including transgender youth, have widespread acceptance from major U.S. medical organizations.
Transgender rights activist Lakey Love of the Florida Coalition for Transgender Liberation has called the bill “a step toward genocide.” It is a massive step toward trans erasure that states refuse to acknowledge gender identities as valid, and it also threatens to penalize parents for giving the best care for their children.
Caregiving is likewise criminalized to the third degree under this law. The law “changes the definition of se* to deny that trans folx exist,” they stated in an action email.
These laws are part of a slew of anti-LGBTQ measures introduced by the Florida legislature in 2018. DeSantis has already signed a “right to discriminate” direction that will make it legal for doctors to refuse to treat LGBTQ patients because of their personal moral or religious convictions.
“DeSantis has just signed into law the largest slate of anti-LGBTQ bills in one legislative session in the state’s history,” said Joe Saunders, the senior political director of Equality Florida. This is a direct assault on individual liberty. Parental autonomy in pediatric healthcare is protected in democracies. Free nations don’t veto books, stifle education or silence citizens.
DeSantis doesn’t think freedom is something we should fight for; he wants to exploit it as a campaign slogan. He is so intent on securing the Republican nomination that he is willing to sacrifice freedom — and the state’s reputation — to get it. Nationwide vigilance is required. As DeSantis attempts to spread his brand of dictatorship across the country, we can all consider ourselves Floridians.
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