For a long time Florida an anti-LGBTQ agenda, with it truly coming to light in House Bill 1557, better known as the ‘Don’t Say Gay Bill’, in 2022. A bill that prohibits classroom discussion of “sexual orientation” or “gender identity” at certain grade levels. Since then, multiple bills have been proposed and passed that target the LGBTQ+ community in Florida; most of them specifically attacking the rights of trans individuals who live in the state.
Now, Florida is trying to do it once more.
Florida lawmakers have proposed a new bill, Senate Bill 254, which would give the state the right to remove trans children from households where they are receiving gender affirming medical care.
Senate bill 254 states that Florida courts can exercise “temporary emergency jurisdiction over children present in this state if they are at risk of or are being subjected to the provision of sex-reassignment prescriptions or procedures.” They’re saving them from a threat that doesn’t exist.
The bill would change the state’s child custody laws. It would redefine the provision of transition-related health care to minors as “unjustifiable conduct” and “serious physical harm”. The bill would legalize parents kidnapping their children for the purpose of “protecting” the child from transition-related health care, or even if the child was perceived as “at risk”. If the Florida-based parent removed the child from another parent, or from another state to Florida, the court wouldn’t be able to treat the actions as “unjustifiable conduct” or child abuse.
The bill would also modify custody agreements. The bill states, “The court must vacate, stay, or modify the child custody determination to the extent necessary to protect the child from the provision of such prescriptions or procedures.” If the child was in another state, and was at “risk” of being subjected to gender-affirming healthcare, the court could modify the custody agreement in order to “protect” the child.
Alejandra Caraballo, a former state attorney for the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, stated on Twitter, “This is a greenlight to transphobic family members to engage in state sponsored kidnapping.” The bill would allow anti-tansgender family members to legally kidnap children from potentially more supportive environments and find safe haven in Florida. These children would then be taken into a more abusive environment, that would stifle their growth and not allow them to be who they are.
The bill would also forbid the usage of public funds for transition-related health care, including state sponsored health insurance. This would essentially mean that transgender adults who work for the state and local employees would be banned from health coverage.
There have been many protesters of the bill. Former LGBTQ state representative Carlos Guillermo Smith was outraged. He wrote on twitter, on March 3,“I can’t believe I’m writing this. A new FL bill will tell courts to SEIZE TRANS CHILDREN AWAY from their supportive parents if those parents provide or are “at risk” of providing them life-saving care. Parents would be charged with felonies + thrown in prison. This is fascist.”
This bill will put children in danger of being taken away from safe environments; taking them away to a place where they would be belittled and discriminated against for just existing, increasing suicide risks. This bill would widen the gap of discrimination against the trans community as a whole. For the sake of the entire trans-community, let’s hope that it will not be passed.