Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,- a common phrase quoted into oblivion to represent a variety of viewpoints, and yet many states are still able to easily pass concerning laws. One of these laws include a new legislature from Florida, also known as Senate bill 254.
This bill would give the state of Florida the right to remove a child from their legal guardian if the parent, child, or sibling is found to be receiving any form of transgender health services, including gender-affirming therapy, hormone treatment, and top or genital surgery. This law also applies to children who may not be currently living with their parents and from another state, causing more issues.
Not only that, but any licensed medical practitioner (doctors, therapists, surgeons) including health insurance providers, found to be administering such services would have their license removed, meaning they would lose their ability to work.
The bill goes into depth to explain that in the event a parent or child is found to be receiving any trans-related care or procedures, the child will be removed from their guardian’s care and given to another family member that does not support them. This would also apply for families that have already moved out of Florida, meaning state borders would not block the grasp of the government’s reach.
This could possibly conflict with the laws of more accepting states, as they may have different laws pertaining to the specific health care of transgender individuals.
Senate bill 254 was originally introduced by Republican-state Senator Clay Yarborough, and openly supported by Governor Ron DeSantis. They claim that the purpose of the bill was to “make Florida a safe place to raise children”, and made “protecting children as well as parent’s rights” the main forefront in order to push the bill.
“This legislation sends a strong message that Florida is a safe place to raise children. As the father of four young boys, I know that childhood is as special as it is short. Florida parents are worried about the radical, prurient agenda that has become pervasive across most forms of media, specifically targeting young children,” Yarborough stated during the reveal of this bill a month back.
In a political landscape where actions speak louder than words, this bill screams volumes about how the Floridian government truly views queer families, or in this case, any family structure that differs from their own. Their narrow world view continues to harm the people most susceptible to this type of treatment, and this bill would certainly be taking things too far.
It is one thing to publicly disagree with someone’s way of life, but actively seeking to remove any and all means of support for a certain group of people is alarming. Governments are first and foremost made to serve the people, not advocate against their entire existence. In this case, it is clear that this bill only serves the ones who actively oppose other families that include either transgender adults or children.
The way the Floridian government has chosen to respond to these families is a clear indication that they see transgender people as a threat to themselves and the so-called “ideals” they stand for. A large and prominent strategy employed by the Republican party in order to gather support for the bill was the call to protect children and protect families, yet it is obvious that this bill does the opposite.
Unfortunately, that was the goal for lawmakers such as Yarborough and DeSantis, because the families they are trying to protect are not the ones including transgender people, it is their own.
The people that are so caught up with how other people choose to live their lives are blind to one simple fact; it is not always about them.
It is plain to understand that not everyone leads the same life experience with the same choices, and in a society with a rapidly progressing worldview (or at least an attempt to) not everyone is completely on board with certain ideas. Still, this is not an excuse to actively go against people who choose to live a life that is better for them.
The bill mainly discusses the limitations being placed on health services that are catered towards transgender people. These services were originally offered to help people feel more themselves in their own body, and is in no way a requirement for anyone who feels uncomfortable with the idea of themselves at all. A study of 27,000 people who identified as transgender showed that only 25% chose to undergo some type of surgery to alter themselves.
While it is true that not every situation requires immediate medication of some sorts, that decision is up to the person receiving the care or between a medical professional, and is not for the state to decide.
Taking away the mere option to heal is already a step in the wrong direction to “protect children”, and the same goes for separating families and putting children into the care of unsupportive parents, which could very likely descend into actual abuse, which unfortunately is the case for most teens who are trans.
According to statistics from the Trevor Project, at least 40% of transgender youth were abandoned or kicked out of their homes after coming out, and 55% escaped their homes due to abuse.
The option provided by the state is by no means a solution. Being suddenly ripped out of your home and shoved into a suddenly unsafe environment is not “preserving families” at all, it is adding onto the problems and stress that transgender children and teens would otherwise already face at home.
Last year, 1 in 3 transgender and nonbinary youth reported that they have attempted suicide in response to harassment and abuse from their environment.
Taking away trans children from their parents, or trans parents from their children is the opposite of protecting families because often, they are the only support systems they have in a state where the government is clearly not on their side.
Currently, many LGBTQ+ groups from all over the nation are loudly expressing their frustration with legislature such as the one in Florida. Though Senate Bill 254 has already passed the Senate, it has not been signed into law.
As people continue to protest the bill, let this serve as a reminder that though America prides itself on being progressive and accepting of everyone, the fight for true equality is far from over.