Florida Legislature Passes Bill Banning Gender-Transition Care for Minors

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The Florida Legislature passed a bill on Thursday that would prohibit gender-transition care for minors and restrict it for adults, one of several measures aimed at L.G.B.T.Q. communities that have been passed during this year’s legislative session. Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican crisscrossing the country as he tests a possible 2024 presidential run, is expected to sign it into law.

The legislation goes further than policies adopted last year by the Florida Board of Medicine and Board of Osteopathic Medicine banning hormone treatments and surgical care for transgender people under 18 unless they are already receiving such treatments. The new bill would codify the ban and penalize doctors who violate it with up to five years in prison.

Separately, the bill would require adults seeking gender-transition care to sign a consent form, and prohibit such care from being prescribed via telemedicine.

Background: The Legislature has prioritized bills aimed at L.G.B.T.Q. communities.

The Florida Legislature, which ended its annual two-month session in Tallahassee on Friday, also sent to Mr. DeSantis’s desk bills punishing businesses that admit minors to “adult live performances” such as drag shows; prohibiting public school employees from calling students pronouns other than those matching their gender at birth; and making it a misdemeanor trespassing offense for people to use bathrooms in public buildings that do not correspond to their sex at birth.

The Legislature defined “adult live performances” in part as those depicting or simulating “nudity, sexual conduct, sexual excitement or specific sexual activities,” or “the lewd exposure of prosthetic or imitation genitals or breasts.”

Republicans hold supermajorities in both the State House and Senate.

Last month, the Florida Board of Education expanded through 12th grade a prohibition on classroom instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity. The law, called Parental Rights in Education and referred to by critics as “Don’t Say Gay,” applied only to kindergarten through third-grade classrooms when it was enacted last year.

Why It Matters: A growing number of states are passing similar restrictions.

At least 13 states have passed laws or policies in recent months to ban or significantly limit the use of puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and gender-transition surgery for people under 18. Officials in Idaho, Indiana, Montana, Oklahoma and North Dakota enacted new policies since the beginning of April, and lawmakers in more states, including Nebraska and Texas, have been considering similar limits.

The L.G.B.T.Q. advocacy organization GLAAD has already sued Florida over the state health board’s prohibition of what experts call gender-affirming care.

“Even among the crowded field of extreme and damaging bans on best practice, age-appropriate health care, this bill stands out as particularly meanspirited,” the Human Rights Campaign, another advocacy group, said in a statement after the bill’s passage on Thursday, calling it “an extreme, unprecedented attack on transgender people, their health care and the families and health care providers who care for them.”

Florida’s focus on gender issues has also prompted rebukes from well-known figures. Dwyane Wade, the former star of the N.B.A.’s Miami Heat, recently revealed that he moved out of the state because his family “would not be accepted or feel comfortable there.” His teenage daughter is transgender.

And Lewis Hamilton, the seven-time Formula One champion, said on Thursday that he would race in the Miami Grand Prix on Sunday with a rainbow on his helmet to protest the state’s measures.

What’s Next: Gov. Ron DeSantis will most likely sign the latest bill.

Despite the prospect of additional lawsuits, Mr. DeSantis indicated after the session concluded on Friday that he would sign the gender-transition care legislation.

“You can’t use euphemisms on this stuff,” he said. “If you have a minor child, you should not be doing sex-change operations. You should not be doing puberty blockers. That is wrong, and we’re glad that we put a stop to that in the state of Florida.”

He cast the suite of bills as protections for children.

“It is wrong to be sexualizing these kids,” he said. “It’s wrong to have gender ideology and telling kids that they may have been born in the wrong body.”

The governor, who has not yet started a 2024 presidential campaign, is scheduled to speak to Republicans in Wisconsin on Saturday.

Mitch Smith contributed reporting.

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