DeSantis signs expansion “Don’t Say Gay,” gender-affirming care ban

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday signed four bills that limit LGBTQ rights, including a measure that expands what critics have called the state’s Dont Say Gay law and another that will ban transition-related child welfare .

She also signed a bill that will stop trans people from using public facilities in line with their gender identities and another that will limit performances by adults in front of minors. He said the latter measure was intended to limit endurance performance.

Last March, DeSantis signed into law the Parental Rights in Education bill, which bans classroom instruction by school staff or others about sexual orientation or gender identity from kindergarten through third grade. elementary or in a manner that is not appropriate for the age or development of the students in accordance with state standards.

The new measure prohibits sexual orientation or gender identity teaching from kindergarten through eighth grade, limits reproductive health education from sixth through 12th grade, and requires reproductive health education to be appropriate for all ages. age or development of students in accordance with state standards. The bill applies to both public and charter schools.

Among its provisions, the bill requires schools to teach that sex is determined by biology and reproductive function at birth; that biological males impregnate biological females by fertilizing the female egg with the male sperm; that the female then bears offspring; and that these reproductive roles are binary, stable, and immutable.

The bill bans schools from requiring students or employees to refer to each other with pronouns that don’t align with their assigned gender at birth. It will also ban trans school employees from sharing their pronouns with students.

During a press conference Wednesday, DeSantis said the bill ensures Florida students and teachers will never be forced to state pronouns in school or use pronouns not based on biological sex.

We never did that in all of human history until like, what, two weeks ago? DeSantis said of people using pronouns other than those associated with their assigned gender. Now this is something, they’re making third graders say pronouns. We’re not making the pronoun Olympics in Florida. It’s not happening here.

DeSantis also signed a bill banning transition-related child care in the state, joining 18 other states in which governors signed similar legislation. The measure codifies restrictions on care in the state, initially approved by the Board of Medicine and the Board of Osteopathic Medicine in March.

The bill signed by DeSantis, effective immediately, will grant Florida temporary custody of children whose parents provide them with gender-affirming care. The measure would also ban the use of public funds to cover such care for anyone, including adults. Healthcare workers who violate the measure could face a felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

DeSantis said the law will make mutilation of minors illegal, although most major medical associations in the United States, including the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Psychological Association, oppose such restrictions.

There are actually some states in this country that want to be a haven for these kinds of procedures and even take in minors without parental consent and to some of their jurisdictions, DeSantis said of the 10 states that have passed measures protecting caregivers. healthcare trans. Of course we’re doing the opposite here.

DeSantis also signed into law a measure prohibiting establishments from having children during an adult live show. While the bill doesn’t specifically name drag performance, DeSantis said Wednesday that the law is intended to limit them.

There are these adult performances, these drag shows, sexually explicit, he said. What they are doing is adult entertainment. People can do whatever they want with some of that, but to have minors there, I mean, you’re going to have situations where you’re going to be like an 8-year-old there, where you have these really explicit shows, and that’s just inappropriate. .

DeSantis noted that Floridas has taken administrative action against multiple venues and restaurants that have held drag shows with minors in attendance, but the reality is that we needed the lawmaker to step in and really clarify that if you are a venue that is holding drag shows for adults, you have an obligation to ensure that these kids are not allowed on the premises and they would hold you responsible.

Melanie Willingham-Jaggers, executive director of GLSEN, which advocates for LGBTQ students, said in a statement that DeSantis is trying to go back in time and erase LGBTQ+ people from existence.

He is using vulnerable communities as political pawns in an attempt to gain power and advance his career, Willingham-Jaggers said. We know that inclusive curriculum and LGBTQ+ representation benefits all students, and every single major medical association in the United States supports gender-affirming youth care. As Floridians continue to face attacks on their education, healthcare and bodily autonomy, we have called on lawmakers, advocates and allies to stand up with us and support LGBTQ+ youth.

Florida teachers said they removed books from their classrooms and decided not to form LGBTQ clubs following the first iteration of the so-called Don’t Say Gay law. A teacher, Jenna Barbee, said on social media on Saturday that she was being investigated by her school and the state Department of Education after she showed her fifth graders Strange World, a Disney animated film featuring a openly gay character.

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