Republican lawmakers in Florida waited until the last moment to file four anti-LGBTQ bills on Monday, just hours before the cut-off. They were each filed in both the Senate and House as companion bills.
Reps. Byron Donalds, Michael Grant, Bob Rommel, Anthony Sabatini, and Sens. Dennis Baxley, Joe Gruters, and Keith Perry introduced the legislation, which collectively would ban gender-affirming health care for trans youth, repeal municipal and county ordinances that offer LGBTQ worker protections, and legalize conversion therapy, the dangerous and debunked practice that claims to be able to change one’s gender identity or sexual orientation.
Rep. Shevrin Jones, who is himself gay, said in a statement it was “shameful that Republican lawmakers are wasting tax dollars attacking Florida’s most vulnerable communities rather than prioritizing the issues that impact everyday people’s lives.”
“Clearly they’ve decided that discrimination and hate are central to their election-year platform despite our state’s incredible diversity,” he added.
“This is the most overtly anti-LGBTQ agenda from the Florida Legislature in recent memory,” Jon Harris Maurer, of Equality Florida, said in a press release. “It runs the gamut from openly hostile legislation that would arrest and imprison doctors for providing medically necessary care, to legislation that would carelessly erase critical local LGBTQ protections.”
“Sadly, the medical care of transgender youth has been sensationalized and politicized,” Jack Turban, a researcher at Harvard Medical School, told NBC News. “Gender-affirming medical care for transgender adolescents is endorsed by major medical organizations, including the Endocrine Society, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. It should go without saying, but providing standard medical care should not be a felony.”
Lawmakers in South Dakota also introduced legislation this week that would make it a felony for doctors to perform gender confirmation surgeries and provide hormone therapy to minors.