Things for trans and non-binary people in Florida, especially kids, are just getting worse and worse by the day.
Republicans have a supermajority in Florida and the governorship. And they have been hella busy passing anti-trans bills that Gov. Ron DeSantis is sure to sign.
If you were to believe Florida Republicans, they are heroically preventing kids from becoming transgender. Gov. DeSantis keeps talking about genital mutilation of minors as if there’s some kind of mutilation epidemic (there isn’t) but also as if that’s all there is to trans and non-binary people. That is, of course, not surprising considering that LGBTQ+ people have been reduced to our private parts in order to dehumanize and vilify us for decades.
So in Florida we have the “don’t say gay” bill, which prohibits discussion of LGBTQ+ people or topics in grade school and is resulting in a purge of diverse books from school libraries.
They’ve also banned any kind of gender-affirming care for minors and deem that kids receiving such care should be taken away from their families.
According to CNN, lawmakers passed “a bill that prohibits transgender children from receiving gender-affirming treatments, including prescriptions that block puberty hormones or sex-reassignment surgeries. Under the legislation, a court can intervene to temporarily remove a child from their home if they receive gender-affirming treatments or procedures. The bill treats such health care options, which are supported by the American Medical Association, the same as it would a case of child abuse.”
This pisses me off a great deal. Child abuse is a real thing that happens to far too many kids. I have yet to see Republican lawmakers as up in arms about actual child abuse as they are about the existence of trans kids. By claiming to be protecting trans kids from the “abuse” of medical care, they’re actually making any kids who actually are being abused less safe by taking attention and resources away from the real problem.
The Florida legislature also banned pronoun use at schools. Or, at least, personal pronouns.
The bill, according to CNN, “restricts teachers, faculty and students from using the pronouns of their choice in public schools. That bill declares that it must be the policy of all schools that ‘a person’s sex is an immutable biological trait’ and ‘it is false’ to use a pronoun other than the sex on a person’s birth certificate.”
It’s a dumb law addressing an imaginary problem. The number of people who use pronouns that don’t match the sex on their birth certificate is, in the grand scheme of things, pretty small. But Republicans would have you believe that kids are changing their pronouns on a whim left and right. It just isn’t true. But it’s pretty easy to target a small group in the minority when you’re the big bad Florida government because said group doesn’t have political power to fight back. This pronoun bill also isn’t in the service of protecting children from the “abuse” of gender affirming care. This is intended to erase trans and non-binary people, full stop.
So is the bill they passed “that prohibits transgender people from using a bathroom or changing room that matches their gender identity while in government buildings, including in places like public schools, prisons and state universities,” as reported by CNN.
Again, the claim is that transgender sex perverts are running amok in public bathrooms putting women and children in danger. And again, it just isn’t true. Transgender people do not pose a bigger threat than people who are not transgender. Again, targeting trans people ignores the fact that sexual assault really happens and this is taking attention and resources away from the actual problem.
The end goal of these bathroom bills, as we’ve seen in other states, is to drive transgender people out of public spaces. It’s erasure.
I remember back when North Carolina passed a bathroom bill in 2016 there was a lot of backlash. The state experienced some pretty serious economic consequences. The NBA decided to hold the 2017 All Star game in New Orleans instead of Charlotte. Performers like Bruce Springsteen and Nick Jonas refused to perform there. Big companies like Adidas and PayPal reconsidered expanding in the state. It was a huge clusterfuck.
Where is that backlash now? States that single out transgender people for harm need to experience economic consequences. It’s the only language Republicans understand.
And hey, looking for a fun family vacation this summer? There’s this great place where Mickey Mouse and Goofy hang out. It’s called Disneyland, and it’s in California. Protect your family. Stay away from Florida.
D’Anne Witkowski is a writer living in Michigan with her wife and son. She has been writing about LGBTQ+ politics for nearly two decades. Follow her on Twitter @MamaDWitkowski.
Photo by DonkeyHotey