DeSantis Signs Laws on Trans Kids, Pronouns

Florida governor also signed law targeting drag shows
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 17, 2023 2:08 PM CDT
DeSantis Signs Laws on Trans Kids, Pronouns
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis holds up bills he signed during a bill signing ceremony at the Coastal Community Church at Lighthouse Point, Tuesday, May 16, 2023, in Lighthouse Point, Fla.   (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed bills Wednesday that ban gender-affirming care for minors, target drag shows, restrict discussion of "preferred pronouns" in schools, and force people to use certain bathrooms. DeSantis has made anti-LGBTQ+ legislation a large part of his agenda as he prepares to seek the Republican presidential nomination. He signed the bills in front of a cheering crowd at the evangelical Cambridge Christian School in Tampa. The ceremony had a campaign-like feel, with DeSantis tossing Sharpies to a crowd, as opposed to when he privately signed measures on abortion and gun rights, the AP reports.

Democrats opposed the bills and LBTQ+ rallies were held at the Capitol during the session that ended two weeks ago, but Republicans have a super-majority in both chambers and easily approved the bills for DeSantis' signature. "It’s kind of sad that we even have some of these discussions,” DeSantis told the crowd Wednesday, standing behind a lectern with a sign reading “Let Kids Be Kids." While he said he is protecting parents' rights, his opponents say he's denying the rights of parents with transgender kids.

The gender-affirming care ban, which also places new restrictions on adults seeking treatment, and the law targeting drag shows go into effect immediately. The bathroom restrictions and the law banning schools from forcing children to "provide his or her preferred personal title or pronouns" take effect July 1. The law states that all schools in the state must have the policy that "a person’s sex is an immutable biological trait." CNN notes that in his first campaign for governor in 2018, DeSantis described legislation targeting transgender people as a distraction he would avoid if elected. "Getting into bathroom wars, I don’t think that’s a good use of our time," he said. (More Florida stories.)

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