WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (CBS12) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, signed five bills into law Wednesday at the Cambridge Christian School in Tampa.
The bill package, dubbed the "Let Kids Be Kids" package by DeSantis, includes five bills covering topics such as gender-affirming surgical care for minors, expanding prohibitions on the instruction of sexual orientation and gender identity up to 8th grade, and prohibiting children from attending "sexually explicit performances," specifically calling out drag shows.
Senate Bill 254 or 'Treatments for sex reassignment' makes it illegal for doctors to provide puberty blockers, hormone therapy, or sex reassignment surgeries to anyone under 18.
“In Florida, we are going to remain a refuge of sanity and a citadel of normalcy. And kids should have an upbringing that reflects that," said Gov. DeSantis.
Anyone who violates these rules could be charged with a felony and lose their medical license.
“This will permanently outlaw the mutilation of minors," said DeSantis.
The bill does not prevent a child from getting counseling or other psychiatric treatment related to gender dysphoria.
“You have actually some states in this country that want to be a haven for these types of procedures and even welcome minors without their parent's consent and to some of their jurisdiction. We're obviously doing the opposite here," said DeSantis.
Compass Community Center CEO Julie Seaver believes this law and several of the other laws DeSantis signed Wednesday will negatively impact the LGBTQ community.
"If the current administration really wanted to protect kids, they would look at school shootings, gun violence, all of the things that are happening to us here in the state of Florida, that affect us all," said Seaver.
She says children under 18 are not going through gender reassignment surgery. But she worries that this law will force children to not be as open with people and will lead to bigger mental health issues and increased suicide rates.
"This is not something that goes away. It needs and requires treatment. And if you suppress it now, it's just going to be a bigger issue that they're going to have to deal with later," she said.
Children already receiving treatment to change their gender will be allowed to continue with it, but the law does require the state to come up with new standards for gender-affirming care in general.
This bill went into effect as law upon signature.