TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — A bill banning sex reassignment surgeries and hormones for minors is poised to become law as it cleaned house in the Senate chamber Tuesday afternoon.
SB 254, filed by Sen. Clay Yarborough (R-Jacksonville), would enforce third degree felonies for physicians who administer these surgeries, requiring all health care centers to provide a written statement agreeing to these provisions.
“The goal is to protect Florida’s children from being subjected to irreversible and life-altering sex reassignment prescriptions and procedures.” Sen. Yarborough said,
“This bill is very important to me as a parent; it’s even more important to the children who are told their only option for curing mental health issues is gender-affirming surgeries.” He stated, refencing an argument that transgender youth will commit suicide if they do not have access to these treatments.
“THIS IS PERSECUTION: PLAIN AND SIMPLE”
Opposition spanned two days, with the strict line of Democratic questioning rolling the bill to Tuesday’s party line vote.
“This is persecution: plain and simple.” Sen. Tina Polsky (D-Boca Raton) stated. “Just like the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, it’s mean, it’s hurtful, and goes beyond black-and-white words on a page.” She explained a bill from last year’s session, which banned gender identity and sexuality teachings from kindergarten-third grade.
Sen. Shevrin Jones (D-Miami) agreed, quoting actress and LGBTQ advocate Judith Light: “You know gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender…they are people. And all they want to be, is human beings.” He continued, “These people just want to live their lives, they’re not hurting anyone!”
“LET KIDS BE KIDS”
Despite strong disagreement the bill passed the Senate in a party line vote. “These treatments are experimental.” Sen. Yarborough closed, “As lawmakers, we have to draw the line when drastic, life-altering treatments and surgeries are being prescribed to children. We need to let kids be kids.”
Following SB 254’s passing of the Senate, an identical version need only pass the House to become law.
The Senate version, however, has a key difference from its stricter House counterpart: the former allows minors who were on gender-reassignment hormones prior to the bill, to continue their hormone treatments. The House, however, requires these minors to stop these hormones by the end of the year.
This discrepancy will likely result in a ping-ponging between the two chambers, as they attempt to work out an identical bill to send to the Governor’s desk.