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Miami, May 18 – Ron DeSantis, the Republican Governor of Florida, has signed bills banning children from undergoing transgender medical treatments or going to drag shows, and restricting pronoun use in classrooms across the US state.
The laws dubbed the ‘Let Kids Be Kids’ package, bans transgender-identifying children from accessing such treatments as puberty blockers or hormone therapy, reports the BBC.
It also places new restrictions on adults seeking transgender medical treatment. Such patients must now obtain written consent on a form adopted by two oversight boards whose members are appointed by the Governor.
As he signed the five bills on Wednesday at the evangelical Cambridge Christian School in Tampa, the Governors, who is expected to enter the 2024 White House race soon, said: “With my signature, Florida permanently prohibits genital mutilating surgical procedures and experimental puberty blockers for minors.
“Minors given these procedures without their consent will now be able to recover damages for permanent injury or death caused by these medical experiments.”
Another of the laws bans school employees from telling students their preferred pronouns, or asking students about their preferred pronouns.
DeSantis went on to say that students and teachers in the ‘Sunshine State’ “will no longer have to declare their pronouns in school or be forced to use pronouns not based on biological sex”.
“Our teachers will focus on what matters — reading, writing, and arithmetic,” the Governor said, adding: “Teachers of young children and tweens should be focused on reading comprehension — not gender fluidity and pronouns.”
“We never did this through all of human history until like two weeks ago. They’re having third graders declare pronouns? We’re not doing the pronoun Olympics in Florida.”
The Governor also signed into law a bill requiring all bathrooms or locker rooms at public facilities — from schools to prisons — to be used exclusively for men and women “based on their biological sex”.
Another of the laws, titled ‘Protecting Children’s Innocence’, grants the state the power to strip businesses of their licences if they allow children into “adult live performances”, such as drag shows.
DeSantis is known to sign controversial bills, such as legislations banning teaching on gender identity in public schools, restricting abortion access, protecting gun rights and railing against “woke indoctrination” in the classroom, the BBC reported.
The Governor is widely expected to declare his candidacy as soon as next week.
Former President Donald Trump is currently leading in the race for next year’s Republican presidential nomination, with DeSantis in second spot more than 36 points behind, according to the Real Clear Politics opinion polling average.