- Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed four bills into law addressing parental rights, transgender medical treatment, bathroom use and sexually explicit entertainment with children present.
- LGBTQ advocates claim that the laws are the most extensive anti-LGBTQ measures passed in a single legislative session in Florida’s history.
- Republicans argue that the laws are necessary to protect young people from adult-led sexual indoctrination and exploitation.
- The laws include prohibitions on certain transgender treatments for minors, restrictions on pronoun use inconsistent with birth sex, limitations on discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity in schools, and harsher penalties for establishments allowing children at explicit performances.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed four bills into law this week addressing parental rights, transgender medical treatment, a crackdown on sexually explicit entertainment with children in attendance, and a bathroom restriction bill. LGBTQ advocates have labeled the measures a “slate of hate,” calling the package of bills the most sweeping set of anti-LGBTQ laws enacted during a single legislative session in the state’s history. But Republicans say the measures are needed to protect young people from harmful sexual indoctrination and exploitation by adults.
“We are not doing the pronoun Olympics in Florida,” DeSantis said during a bill signing event at a Christian school in Tampa. “It’s not happening here.”
The first law, SB 254, prohibits certain transgender treatments for minors, specifically drug therapies and surgeries for children diagnosed with gender dysphoria. The legislation bars the use of state funds for sex reassignment prescriptions or procedures and places limitations on adults seeking such treatments. The law also mandates that transgender people use restrooms in schools and public buildings that match their sex assigned at birth.
The second measure, HB 1069, expands upon the existing Parental Rights in Education Law. This new version forbids students from being compelled to use pronouns inconsistent with their own sex assigned at birth, and protects students from being compelled to use pronouns for other people that are inconsistent with the other person’s sex assigned at birth. The bill prevents school staff from offering their own pronouns if they deviate from their birth sex, but the bill also includes exceptions for people born with certain genetic or biochemical disorders. The new law also restricts any classroom discussion on sexual orientation and gender identity from kindergarten through eighth grade, encompassing pre-kindergarten and charter schools.
A third law, SB 1438, signed by DeSantis introduces harsher penalties for establishments that knowingly allow children to attend sexually explicit “adult live performances,” such as drag shows. The law stipulates that offenders could be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor, facing up to a year in prison and a $1,000 fine.
Alongside these bills, DeSantis also signed a fourth law, known as the “bathroom bill,” HB 1521, which establishes rules for who can use specific restrooms and changing facilities based on gender. It makes it illegal to intentionally enter a restroom or changing facility that is designated for the opposite sex and to refuse to leave when asked to do so. The bill also sets guidelines for gender-specific access to domestic violence centers and correctional institutions. The bill leaves an exception for individuals who were born with certain genetic or biochemical conditions that can be verified.
The bills have drawn criticism from numerous groups, including Equality Florida, which has issued a “travel advisory” warning the LGBTQ community of potential risks associated with visiting or living in the state. Critics argue that the new laws infringe on parental rights and aim to suppress the existence of LGBTQ and transgender individuals by limiting their rights and freedoms.