TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CBS12) — Speaking at a press conference in Tampa, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill package aimed at gender identity and gender affirming care in schools, among other topics.
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 instruction of sexual orientation and gender identify up to 8th grade, and prohibiting children from attending "sexually explicit performances," specifically calling out drag shows.
“Florida is proud to lead the way in standing up for our children,” said Gov. DeSantis.
As the world goes mad, Florida represents a refuge of sanity and a citadel of normalcy.
In response to the bill signings, Florida Senate Democrats called the package a "slate of anti-LGBTQ legislation," and released the following statements:
Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book (D-Davie):
These bills take us several steps back as a society that’s fought hard for progress and equality. Being gay or trans isn’t perverse. It isn’t dangerous. What’s dangerous is the discrimination legalized today.
These bills are hypocritical and against the stated values of elected Republicans. They say that they trust teachers, but accuse them of indoctrination. They say they’re for parental rights, but only for the parents they agree with. Let Floridians live their lives freely, equally, and without undue and discriminatory government interference.
Senator Geraldine Thompson (D-Orlando):
The Don’t Say Gay expansion legislation requires a gulf between students and teachers that doesn’t serve either. Teachers will not provide answers to questions students have regarding sexual orientation and students will seek information from other sources that usually are ill informed or untrustworthy. Students will rely on television, social media and their peers for information they should be able to gather from trusted teachers. If we really promote parental rights, let parents decide what is best for their children related to gender-affirming care.
Senator Victor Torres (D-Orlando):
These bills are mean spirited, unnecessary and won’t stop people from being gay or trans. What it will do is put a target on their backs and increase the instances of bullying and suicides of LGBTQ Floridians. It will put people like my granddaughter in harm’s way which is why we need to be teaching and legalizing acceptance - not hate.
The following bills are included in the package: