Trans Rights Under Attack: Florida Bill Aims to Grant Emergency Custody of Children
Written by: Bonnie Chapman
Tallahassee, FL - Lawmakers in Florida have proposed a bill that has raised concerns among citizens. Bill 254, introduced by Senator Yarborough, aims to provide temporary emergency jurisdiction to state courts in the presence of a transgender individual. The bill is designed to protect children from being pressured into undergoing sex-reassignment procedures or being prescribed related medication. According to the bill's language, "if a child, sibling, or parent is being mistreated, abused, or at risk of such treatment, or at risk of receiving sex-reassignment procedures or prescriptions, a Florida court can take emergency custody of the child."
While the bill has passed in the Florida Senate, it has attracted criticism from advocates of the transgender community. Many argue that having a transgender individual in the household poses no threat to children, including those with a transgender sibling. Michelle Forcier, author of "Pediatric Gender Identity," states that recent studies estimate that approximately 1-2% of young people in the United States identify as transgender or gender diverse (TGD). Within her work, she further explains how social stigma affects those who are gender diverse. "The natural history of gender identity in TGD youth is understudied, and it is currently unclear how many TGD prepubertal youth will continue to identify as such into adolescence onward. However, for TGD youth who identify as such following the onset of puberty, existing literature suggests the vast majority continue to identify as TGD in adulthood. TGD youth suffer disproportionate rates of adverse mental and physical health outcomes, driven primarily by societal stigma and minority stress. Emerging research suggests that these adverse outcomes can be mitigated by accepting social environments."
There is no evidence to suggest that transgender individuals impose their gender transformations on others, and most trans individuals tend to focus on encouraging others to be their true selves, instead of forcing ideologies. The trans community has made significant contributions to society and has opened the public's eyes to its existence. To our knowledge, these individuals haven't posed a threat to children. Instead of worrying about trans individuals, there are problems that require our immediate attention, such as protection for our children in cases of school shootings and the increasing number of suicides in our youth due to mental health deterioration.
It is important to note that emergency custody is a sensitive matter that should not be taken lightly, and any decision regarding emergency custody must be made based on the individual's specific circumstances, rather than based solely on their gender identity.
This bill comes at a time when several other states are considering similar legislation aimed at restricting the rights of transgender individuals. The proposed bills include prohibiting transgender girls from participating in girls' sports teams in schools and colleges, prohibiting the use of public restrooms that do not align with the sex assigned at birth, and banning healthcare providers from providing gender-affirming healthcare to minors. These bills have been met with criticism from civil rights organizations and the transgender community, who argue that they perpetuate discrimination against transgender individuals.
According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), these bills are "harmful and discriminatory" and "violate the most basic principles of equality and dignity." They have also warned that these bills could lead to increased harassment and violence against transgender individuals.
The fight for transgender rights is an ongoing battle, and bills like 254 only serve to perpetuate the discrimination and stigma that transgender individuals face. As a society, we must work towards creating a more inclusive and accepting environment for all individuals, regardless of their gender identity.
For more information on the bill's language and progress, visit the Florida Senate website and track its progress through Legiscan.