Republican lawmakers in Florida have sparked outrage after passing a bill that LGBTQ advocates say will remove trans children from their parents’ custody.
SB254, which one former lawmaker called “fascist” legislation, would allow the state to separate children from their parents when they are “at risk” or “subject” to gender-affirming medical care. The bill is written so that even a child of Floridian parents living out of state can activate the law.
“I can’t believe I’m writing this,” Carlos Guillermo Smith, former House of Representatives legislator and state’s first LGBTQ Latino representative, wrote on Twitter last month. “This is fascist.”
Kara Gross, legislative director and senior policy adviser for the ACLU of Florida, called the state’s assault on trans existence “disgraceful.”
“It is shameful that our Florida Legislature continues to pass dangerous bills designed to silence, harm and erase trans people in Florida,” he said in a statement. “These bills directly threaten the fundamental human rights and safety of transgender Floridians. The Florida Legislature’s insistence on targeting trans people is bizarre, unnecessary, unconstitutional and extremely dangerous.”
He said bills like the one in Florida make it “impossible for transgender people to go about their daily lives like everyone else,” and that they invite abuse and hostility from the public.
“This is state-sanctioned discrimination against Florida’s vibrant trans community,” he said.
The Florida legislature on Wednesday passed three bills that aim to remove any expression of non-cis, non-hetero expression from public life.
HB1521 is the state’s restroom bill, which prohibits businesses from using gender-inclusive restrooms.
SB1438 empowers the state to take punitive action against businesses that put on LGBTQ-friendly shows or drag performances. It also gives the state the power to bar minors from attending events it deems “inappropriate.” Minors will not be allowed to participate in events even if their parents consent, a policy that runs counter to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ educational agenda that favors parental consent to an extreme degree.
If SB1438 becomes law, it will also likely mean the end of most Pride parades.
Alejandra Caraballo, a former attorney for the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, noted on Twitter today that Treasure Coast Pridefest has already canceled his show for this year.
He previously condemned HB254 as a Florida-approved pass to abduct trans children.
“This is a green light for transphobic family members to participate in state-sponsored kidnappings,” he said. wrote.
The bills were approved shortly after the state renewed its controversial “Don’t Say Gay” law, which prohibits teachers from touching on sexual or gender identity issues while teaching young children.