“This heinous and horrific move is but the latest step in a sweeping campaign of hate and discrimination by the DeSantis administration against LGBTQ+ people for crass political gain,” said Kristine Kippins, Deputy Legal Director for Policy of Lambda Legal.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday signed a series of bills into law that target the LGBTQ+ community, the latest effort in Florida Republicans’ campaign to restrict their rights and freedoms.
DeSantis signed the bills at a private Christian school on the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia, a move that critics argued was intentional.
The bills he signed are:
- HB 1069, the “Don’t Say Gay or Trans” expansion that prohibits classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity from pre-K through the eighth grade.
- SB 254, an extreme ban on gender affirming care that would inflict criminal penalties (including felony penalties) on providers who give gender-affirming care to minors; take licenses away from those providers and prohibit Medicaid from covering gender-affirming care for transgender youth or adults, among other bans. It would also allow the state to use gender-affirming care or the “risk” of a child getting such care to give Florida family courts jurisdiction to set aside another state’s custody determination.
- HB 1521, an anti-trans bathroom bill that criminalizes transgender people for using the restroom that matches their gender identity and prohibits gender-inclusive restrooms and changing facilities in schools, public shelters, healthcare facilities, and jails.
- SB 1438, an anti-drag bill that seeks to censor art under the stated pretense of banning minors from attending drag shows, among other performances.
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A ‘Heinous and Horrific Move’
Critics of the bills say these laws will deny transgender people access to health care, suppress or cancel LGBTQ+ events such as Pride parades and festivals, and erase LGBTQ+ people and content from schools. But more importantly, they will “expose this most vulnerable population to discrimination, harassment, and abuse,” Kristine Kippins, Deputy Legal Director for Policy of Lambda Legal, said in a statement.
“This heinous and horrific move is but the latest step in a sweeping campaign of hate and discrimination by the DeSantis administration against LGBTQ+ people for crass political gain.”
Similarly, Joe Saunders, the senior political director at Equality Florida, believes that the anti-LGBTQ+ bills passed during this session are being used by DeSantis to appeal to Republican primary voters in a potential 2024 presidential run.
“It’s clear that the DeSantis political machine has decided that attacking the parents of LGBTQ kids […] attacking drag queens […] is somehow part of the math for that,” Saunders said.