Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Signs Anti-LGBTQ+ Bills Targeting Transgender Individuals

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has signed several bills into law that target the LGBTQ+ community, particularly transgender individuals. The bills ban gender-affirming care for minors, prohibit children from attending drag shows, and restrict how students learn about and engage with the LGBTQ+ community. The bills also require people to use bathrooms that align with their sex assigned at birth and prohibit establishments from having children at adult live performances, including drag shows.[0]

Critics have dubbed one of the bills, which prohibits instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity, “don’t say gay.” Last year, the bill banned such lessons for kindergarten through third grade, but the new measure extends the ban to pre-kindergarten through eighth grade.[1] Another bill restricts gender-affirming care for transgender adults and children, requiring only physicians to administer such care. Those who violate the law could face a first-degree misdemeanor.[2]

Governor DeSantis presented the bills as a pushback on extremism, but LGBTQ+ advocacy groups have criticized them as an all-out attack on freedom.[3] Joe Saunders, the senior political director of the advocacy group Equality Florida, noted that this is the largest slate of anti-LGBTQ+ bills in one legislative session in the state’s history.

The bills have drawn opposition from major medical associations in the US, including the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association. Last year, the American Medical Association supported gender-affirming care for transgender youth, arguing that it is “medically necessary.”

Governor DeSantis signed the bills into law at New College of Florida, a liberal arts school in Sarasota, where he has been steering a conservative takeover.[4] Earlier this year, the governor replaced six members of the college’s board of trustees with conservative allies.[5] The college has also gutted its diversity, equity, and inclusion programming, which could be a precursor to what other universities may experience under the DeSantis administration.[6]

The bills have sparked outrage and concern among LGBTQ+ individuals and allies, who fear that they will contribute to discrimination and exclusion. The bills restrict the rights and freedoms of transgender individuals, particularly children and youth, who may face discrimination, harassment, and violence as a result of these laws.

In signing these bills into law, Governor DeSantis has taken a step backward in the fight for equality and justice for all individuals, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation. It is crucial that we continue to advocate for the rights and freedoms of LGBTQ+ individuals and stand in solidarity against discrimination and oppression.

0. “Gov. DeSantis signs controversial bills targeting LGBTQ+ issues” WJXT News4JAX , 17 May. 2023, https://www.news4jax.com/news/politics/2023/05/17/watch-live-gov-desantis-holds-news-conference-bill-signing-at-tampa-private-school/

1. “DeSantis rejects ‘pronoun olympics’ in signing bill that expands sexual orientation, gender identity law” FOX 35 Orlando, 17 May. 2023, https://www.fox35orlando.com/news/desantis-signs-expansion-of-sexual-orientation-gender-identity-law

2. “Ron DeSantis Signs Law Allowing Trans Kids to Be Taken From Their Families” The New Republic, 17 May. 2023, https://newrepublic.com/post/172748/ron-desantis-signs-law-allowing-trans-kids-taken-families

3. “Ron DeSantis Signs Four Bills Into Law Restricting LGBTQ+ Rights in Florida” Advocate.com, 17 May. 2023, https://www.advocate.com/politics/ron-desantis-anti-lgbtq-florida

4. “DeSantis defunds diversity and inclusion programs in Florida public universities” New York Post , 16 May. 2023, https://nypost.com/2023/05/15/desantis-defunds-diversity-and-inclusion-programs-in-florida-public-universities/

5. “DeSantis signs bill to defund DEI programs at Florida public colleges” CNN, 15 May. 2023, https://www.cnn.com/2023/05/15/politics/desantis-signs-dei-defunding-bill/index.html

6. “Florida’s ban on DEI spending becomes official as DeSantis enacts college reforms” POLITICO, 15 May. 2023, https://www.politico.com/news/2023/05/15/desantis-enacts-floridas-dei-ban-00096934

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