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Get the latest coverage of the 2023 Florida legislative session in Tallahassee from our coverage partners and 90.7 WMFE.

Florida lawmakers consider bill banning transgender treatment for minors

Florida Capitol/Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons
The Old Florida Capitol in Tallahassee, with the state capitol behind it.

A Florida Senate committee will consider a bill Monday that would ban treatments such as puberty blockers and hormone therapy for transgender youth.

Senate Bill 254is sponsored by Sen. Clay Yarborough, a Republican from Jacksonville. The legislation would ban transgender care for minors while also allowing courts to redetermine child custody should the law be violated.

"We're talking about kids who perhaps have been in a parent's custody for years," said Brandon Wolf, a spokesperson with Equality Florida. "Kids who have been sitting at one dinner table for years, who have been going to events and entertainment with their family for years, and all of a sudden, you have a Florida court intervening to reassign custody to unsupportive parents so that they can seek shelter to block their child from receiving health care in the state of Florida."

Wolf clarified that the law would not allow local government agencies to take a child.

WMFE reached out to Sen. Yarborough’s offices for comment but he was not available. 

The bill is on the Health Policy Committee agenda. The meeting starts at 3:30 p.m.

What is gender-affirming care?

According to the World Health Organization, gender-affirming care is a range of social, psychological, behavioral, and medical interventions “designed to support and affirm an individual’s gender identity.” The bill would allow courts to get involved should a family seek medical interventions such as puberty blockers.

Yarborough's bill appears to be part of an ongoing collective movement to deny trans people rights, Wolf said.

“These can't be characterized as anything but extreme radical right-wing bills that are animated, quite frankly, by a fundamental belief that transgender people aren't real,” he said.

Genders and birth certificates

The bill is joined by the similar House Bill 1421, filed by Brevard County Rep. Randy Fine. It would prevent minors from receiving gender-affirming care and prohibit insurance companies from covering procedures while also banning Floridians from changing the gender on their birth certificates.

WMFE reached out to Rep. Fine’s office, but he was not available for comment. 

Both bills are viewed as a stark escalation in attacks from previous arguments by Gov. Ron DeSantis about transwomen athletes, Wolf said.

In 2021, DeSantis signed a bill into law barring transgender females from playing on public school teams intended for student-athletes born as girls.

“Now we're two years removed. And you've got a bill filed in the house that would essentially force transgender Floridians to be recognized by the state of Florida only by their sex assigned at birth, essentially advocating for the elimination of people being identified or recognized as transgender by a birth certificate," Wolf said.

Originally from South Florida, Joe Mario came to Orlando to attend the University of Central Florida where he graduated with degrees in Radio & Television Production, Film, and Psychology. He worked several beats and covered multimedia at The Villages Daily Sun but returned to the City Beautiful as a reporter for the Orlando Sentinel where he covered crime, hurricanes, and viral news. Joe Mario has too many interests and not enough time but tries to focus on his love for strange stories in comic books and horror movies. When he's not writing he loves to run in his spare time.
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