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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signs “Let Kids Be Kids” package of bills governing transgender surgeries, pronouns and bathroom usage
By Cassie B. // May 21, 2023

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a series of bills this week that he refers to as the “Let Kids Be Kids” package. Among other things, it seeks to protect children from being targeted by those who want to push risky sex change operations on them.

The new legislation includes:

SB 254

This bill prevents children from getting experimental puberty blockers and sex reassignment surgeries. In addition, adults who receive these interventions must now be informed about their dangers as well as their irreversible nature. Those who choose to proceed must provide informed written consent.

Physicians and other healthcare workers who conduct these operations and provide hormones and other gender-affirming medications could face first-degree misdemeanors. The bill also allows individuals to recover damages for injuries or deaths resulting from such treatments in minors.

HB 1521

This bill requires all educational institutions, correctional institutions and public buildings that are equipped with bathrooms or changing facilities to either designate separate facilities that align with each person's assigned sex at birth or provide a one-person unisex facility.

DeSantis said: “A woman should not be in a locker room, having to worry about someone from the opposite sex being in their locker room.”

HB 1069

This bill bans teachers from asking students to provide them with their preferred pronoun. The bill maintains that gender is an “immutable biological trait” and that “it is false to ascribe to a person a pronoun that does not correspond to such person’s sex.” Under this bill, teachers cannot be required to use a child’s preferred pronoun if it does not align with their actual sex.

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In addition, it adds the grade levels of pre-kindergarten and fourth through eighth grade to the state's existing prohibition on providing classroom instruction about gender identity and sexual orientation. A 2022 law applied only to children in kindergarten through third grade, and some teachers tried to get around this by holding inappropriate discussions about these matters with preschoolers.

HB 225

This bill allows students at virtual schools and private schools, as well as those who are home schooled, to take part in extracurricular activities and sports at other private and public schools regardless of their zip code. It also allows sports teams to give brief opening remarks before high school sports competitions that can include prayers.

HB 1438

This bill prohibits individuals from knowingly permitting minors to attend adult performances like drag shows. The States Department of Business and Professional regulation is given the power to punish hotels and restaurants that admit children to adult performances with fines and the suspension or revocation of their alcohol and/or operating license.

Florida will be a "refuge of sanity and a citadel of normalcy"

The bills were signed at the Cambridge Christian School in Tampa. DeSantis noted that the school found itself in the middle of a legal battle a few years ago when prayers were not allowed over its public address system when the school played a championship game against another school.

Speaking about his vision for Florida, DeSantis vowed: “We are going to remain a refuge of sanity and a citadel of normalcy, and kids should have an upbringing that reflects that.”

At the bill signing, a college student named Luca Hein addressed the crowd. Hein received a gender assignment surgery as a teen and is now speaking out publicly against this practice.

Not surprisingly, Democrats were quick to oppose the bills, and LGBTQ+ rallies were held at the state’s Capitol. However, Republicans currently have a majority in both of the state’s chambers, and the bills passed easily.

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