Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has highlighted efforts by Republican governors and statehouses across the country to embrace proposals limiting the rights of transgender people, signing new restrictions as he moves closer to a presidential bid.
The limitations are spread quickly, despite the criticism of medical groups and activists who claim they further marginalize transgender people and threaten their health.
Here’s what’s happening:
DeSantis on Wednesday signed bills that ban gender affirming care for minors, restrict pronoun use in schools and force people to use the bathroom corresponding with their sex assigned at birth in some cases.
DeSantis also signed new restrictions on drag shows that would allow the state to revoke the food and beverage licenses of businesses that admit children to adult performances. The DeSantis administration has moved to pull the liquor licenses of businesses that held drag shows, alleging children were present during lewd displays.
The regulations on gender affirming treatment also prohibit the use of public money to pay for care, and impose new restrictions on adult patients seeking treatment. The restrictions on drag shows and bathroom use are also effective immediately. The bathroom and pronoun restrictions take effect July 1.
DeSantis has been an outspoken advocate for such restrictions, and championed a Florida law that restricts the teaching of sexual orientation and gender identity in public schools. Florida has expanded that prohibition, which critics have dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” law, to all grades.
WHERE BANS STAND NATIONALLY
Hundreds of bills have been proposed this year restricting the rights of transgender people, and LGBTQ+ advocates say they’ve seen a record number of such measures in statehouses.
At least 17 states have now enacted laws restricting or banning gender-affirming care for minors: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, South Dakota and West Virginia. Federal judges have blocked enforcement of laws in Alabama and Arkansas, and several other states are considering bills this year to restrict or ban care. Texas and Missouri governors have also proposed bans.
These bans have spread quickly, with only three states enacting such laws before this year.
Before DeSantis signed the latest ban, Florida was one of two states that had restricted the care via regulations or administrative action. Texas Governor Greg Abbott has directed child welfare officials in Texas to look into reports that children are receiving care of this kind as child abuse. However, a court has blocked these investigations.
Three transgender youth and their parents who are suing to block Florida’s earlier ban on the care for minors expanded their challenge on Wednesday to include the prohibition DeSantis signed into law.
Every major medical organization, including the American Medical Association, has opposed the bans and supported the medical care for youth when administered appropriately. Lawsuits have been filed in several of the states where the bans have been enacted this year.
STATES POISED TO ACT
A proposed ban on gender affirming care for minors is awaiting action before Republican Gov. Mike Parson in Missouri. The state’s Republican attorney general, Andrew Bailey, this week withdrew a rule he had proposed that would have gone further by also restricting access to the care for adults.
Bailey cited the bill pending before Parson as a reason for eliminating the rule, which had been blocked by a state judge.
Nebraska Republicans on Tuesday folded a 12-week abortion ban into a bill that would ban gender affirming care for minors, potentially clearing the way for a final vote on the combined measure as early as this week.
Not all states are adopting restrictions, and some Democrat-led states are enacting measures aimed at protecting the rights of LGBTQ+ youth.
Michigan Democrats plan to introduce legislation Thursday that would ban conversion therapy for minors, a discredited practice of trying to “convert” people to heterosexuality.
The legislation is expected to move quickly with Democrats in control of all levels of state government. The Associated Press spoke with Democratic state rep. Jason Hoskins who is a bill sponsor. He said he hoped the legislation would pass by June 30, which happens to be Pride Month.
Associated Press writers Brendan Farrington in Tallahassee, Florida; Margery Beck in Lincoln, Nebraska; Margaret Stafford in Kansas City, Missouri; and Joey Cappelletti in Lansing, Michigan, contributed to this report.
The post Here are the restrictions on transgender people that are moving forward in US states appeared first on Associated Press.