Florida’s “legal kidnapping” of transgender youth

The flags of the State of Florida and the United States alongside the “Progress Pride” flag on display at a public demonstration organized by Spektrum in Melbourne, Florida, 2023. (Malcolm Denemark/Florida Today)

By Andrew D. and Min A., Red Phoenix correspondents.

In Florida, a state already known for its reactionary policies and politics under the direction of Governor Ron DeSantis, SB 254 has passed in the Senate and is expected to be signed into law after passing in the House. This bill, called the “abduction bill” in the media, is joined by a host of other anti-transgender bills (HB 1403/SB 1580, HB 1223/HB 1069/SB 1320). These bills are being pushed not only in an all-out assault on the human rights of transgender youth and adults, but are also allowing the State of Florida to have unprecedented control over the upbringing of children as well as an absurd level of overreach placed upon doctors and medical professionals.

In essence, SB 254 will grant Florida courts temporary jurisdiction over minors who are undergoing or are “threatened” with “treatments for sex reassignment,” a broad and loosely defined term. The bill will also permit the denial of custody of a child in joint custody cases where one of the guardians claim that such “threat” exists (which will be classified by the bill as abuse), or in cases where a minor is being prescribed medication for gender affirming purposes. This is an affront to parental rights in Florida, a cause the American right expresses great interest in when they demand to send their children to affluent private schools, but not in the interest of the health and well-being of transgender youth.

Along with this, the bill allows physicians to deny treatment on the basis of their own personal beliefs and non-medical opinions. Considering the hysteria being manufactured around transgender people in this state, even if a doctor is ambivalent or even supportive of transgender people, they might be pressured to deny service out of fear of ostracization, or possibly even termination. If a transgender patient is below the age of 18 and gender affirming care is provided, not only will the doctor be prosecuted under the new bill, but their entire clinic will face penalties as well. The bill also provides patients – which would include guardians of patients – to sue for physical injury or death allegedly brought on by gender affirming care, which is yet another way of forcibly reducing the will of physicians to provide this care at all, even to those who are legal adults. This is an affront to the practice of medicine in Florida.

This bill, along with others like it, that ban using a  person’s preferred pronouns, title, and name in schools, allow a religious objection to treatment of anyone by a physician (a blatant violation of their Hippocratic oath), represent an offensive against the 94,900 transgender – a half of percent – of the population of Florida, as part of a national attack against them within the whole of the United States. This an injustice to transgender people across the whole of the country.

Transgender and gender-non conforming people will not be the only victims of this wave of reaction, as this will affect the entire American working class. Consider the following famous poem from Martin Niemöller in regard to the fascist tactics of the Nazi party:

First they came for the Communists
I did not speak out
Because I was not a Communist
Then they came for the Socialists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Socialist
Then they came for the trade unionists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a trade unionist
Then they came for the Jews
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew
Then they came for me
And there was no one left
To speak out for me

It is in the interests of every working class American to defend the rights of both transgender youths and adults, including everyone who is gender non-conforming, because if the working class does not hold together in mutual and revolutionary defense of its most vulnerable, it will be torn apart and exploited piece by piece by the fascistic terror that is certain to come of this wave of reaction.

Categories: Discrimination, Government, Health Care, LGBTQIA+, U.S. News

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