TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — Democrats and the state’s largest LGBTQ rights organization, Equality Florida, protested a slew of bills they call “anti-trans legislation” in a press conference outside the Senate floor Monday, but Republicans showed no sign of changing course.
“We’re in a [legislative session] where Republicans have hijacked the word ‘liberation’,” Rep. Michele Rayner (D-St. Petersburg) decried, referencing ten bills aimed at prohibiting sex reassignment surgery for minors, discussions about sexuality in schools and usage of health insurance for sex reassignment surgeries.
Rayner was joined by Sen. Shevrin Jones (D-Miami), Rep. Anna Eskamani (D-Orlando) and Eimear Mulcahy, the parent of a child who identifies as transgender.
“This is an open air asylum,” Mulcahy said, echoing Rep. Rayner. “They are trying to micromanage your own kid,” Mulcahy went on, ultimately stating that the proposed legislation equates “borderline eugenics.”
But the loud protests fell on deaf ears with Republicans.
“We have to draw the line when drastic, life-altering gender dysphoria therapies and surgeries are mutilating young children,” Senator Clay Yarborough (R-Jacksonville) said. His bill – SB 254 – would ban sex reassignment surgeries for minors and reconsider custody arrangements in which one parent is allowing these surgeries.
“No child should be put in the position of making fundamentally life-altering decisions before they are of the age of majority.” Rep. Randy Fine (R-Brevard) concurred.
Despite the protests, the legislation moves forward as it – after contentious debate – passed the Committee on Health Policy. The bill is now heading to the Committee on Fiscal Policy.