Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has signed several bills into law that align with his conservative beliefs. Among them is a law that bans sex reassignment surgeries for minors and the use of puberty blockers to guide development towards one gender.
At a press conference held at a Christian school in Tampa, DeSantis explained that the legislative package called “Let’s allow children to be children” is a necessary measure to protect Florida’s youth. The law includes SB 254, which bans minors from undergoing sex reassignment surgeries and experimental puberty blockers.
Additionally, the new legislation removes the requirement for students to declare their pronouns at school based on their gender identity. Detention centers, correctional facilities, and public buildings with bathrooms or changing rooms will also designate separate facilities based on biological sex.
DeSantis justified the new laws by stating that there are ideological groups in the United States that impose sex reassignment on minors, which he believes is unacceptable. He also explained that the opposite approach is taken in Florida compared to the rest of the country, giving the state jurisdiction over these interventions.
HB 1069 is another aspect of the legislation package that expands the rights of parents and prohibits classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity from kindergarten to eighth grade. Furthermore, HB 1438 protects children from sexually explicit performances or shows at all locations in Florida.
Planned Parenthood, the largest network of reproductive services clinics in the United States, has criticized the laws for making it illegal for providers to prescribe puberty blockers. However, DeSantis was supported by the Commissioner of Education, Manny Díaz, and the Secretary of the Agency for Health Care Administration, Jason Weida.
The new laws show that Florida takes a different approach to sex reassignment surgeries and gender identity compared to the rest of the country. Time will tell if other states follow suit.