A Florida Republican lawmaker who’s mounting a run for Congress has filed legislation that would prosecute doctors who prescribe gender-affirming treatments to transgender children.
The bill, introduced by State Rep. Anthony Sabatini (R-Howey-in-the-Hills), would impose criminal penalties on any medical provider who performs transition-related surgical procedures on minors, as well as those who prescribe hormones or puberty blockers to transgender individuals under age 18.
Those providers found to violate the law would be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor, meaning they could face up to a year in prison or a fine of $1,000.
The only exception the bill contains is if a person is born intersex, in which case parents can seek out surgery for their child — although such surgeries disregard the child’s own agency for the parents’ personal preferences, and can sometimes lead to gender dysphoria later if the sex “chosen” by the parents does not match an individual’s gender identity.
Sabatini previously introduced a similar bill during the regular legislative session, but the bill never received a committee hearing — ostensibly because of Sabatini’s rocky relationship with his fellow Republicans, and not out of any misgivings on the part of GOP lawmakers about intervening in personal medical decisions, according to the Florida Politics website.
Sabatini told the website that he refiled the legislation after Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) promised, in an interview with the Daily Caller in June, to support any bill that would ban gender-affirming surgeries for transgender children. DeSantis also signed a bill earlier this year to bar transgender youth from competing on sports teams that match their gender identity.
Sabatini, who is running for Congress against U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D) — whose district is expected to be gerrymandered in order to favor Republicans — appears to be using the bill to shore up his conservative credentials. Many conservatives, not only in Florida but across the country, claim that transition-related treatments — including rarely-performed surgical interventions — are irreversible, harmful, and akin to sterilization or disfigurement. Thus far, only Arkansas and Tennessee have passed laws barring gender-affirming treatments for minors, although similar bills have been introduced in nearly two dozen other states.
“This has always been the right thing to do; it should’ve been passed years ago. This is a bipartisan-common sense bill,” Sabatini told Orlando CBS affiliate WKMG-TV, adding: “I’m against the forced castration and sterilization of children—anyone who disagrees with that is mentally insane.”
Heather Wilkie, the executive director of the Zebra Coalition, a nonprofit serving LGBTQ youth, said there needs to be more education for the general population to understand the nuances of gender-affirming surgery, especially since intersex individuals can also identify as transgender or nonbinary.
“It’s a complete double-standard. He’s trying to pick and choose who can receive gender-affirming surgery,” Wilkie said of Sabatini’s bill. “It’s more complex than saying, ‘This population can get surgery, but this population can’t.”
Rep. Anna Eskamani (D-Orlando), an LGBTQ ally, told WKMG that opponents of the bill should view it as a serious threat that has a good chance of passing and being signed into law during next year’s legislative session.
“It’s disgusting; it’s a slap in the face to trans kids and parents. What’s so arrogant is that it’s supposed to be about trans kids’ safety, but it gets in the way of doctors and parents who want best for their kids,” Eskamani said of Sabtaini. “He’s saying he doesn’t want parents or kids to make these decisions, but it’s OK for a politician to decide?”
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North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson doubled down on comments he made last week calling "transgenderism" and homosexuality "filth," accusing the LGBTQ movement of pushing sexually explicit or age-inappropriate books and other materials in schools.
Robinson has been heavily criticized by LGBTQ advocates since a now-viral video clip emerged of him speaking at Asbury Baptist Church in Seagrove, North Carolina, in June, ranting about what he sees as the ills of public schools.
Right Wing Watch, a project of People for the American Way that documents and catalogues videos, recordings, and other media highlighting the actions, incendiary rhetoric, and lies or misrepresentations made by conservative politicians and activists, was the first to share the clip of Robinson's speech at Asbury Baptist.
A 27-year-old Washington State man has been sentenced to more than 20 years in prison after being found guilty of killing transgender teenager Nikki Kuhnhausen in 2019.
Last month, a jury found David Bogdanov, of Vancouver, guilty of second-degree murder and malicious harassment -- a hate crime charge -- for strangling Kuhnhausen, who was 17, to death and then burying her remains in a wooded area near Larch Mountain, in a remote part of northeast Clark County, in southern Washington.
Kuhnhausen went missing on June 6, 2019 while crashing at a friend’s house. Six months later, on Dec. 7, 2019, her remains were found by a person collecting bear grass who reported finding a human skull. Police later found the rest of Kuhnhausen's remains, along with her clothing, jewelry, and hair extensions.
J.D. Vance, one of the Republicans seeking the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Rob Portman (R), put his foot in his mouth while trying to attack U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D) on Twitter for supporting transgender rights.
Vance is a Yale Law School graduate and self-acclaimed populist who wrote Hillbilly Elegy, a memoir centering on his upbringing in Appalachia, the cultural values of the region, and the financial distress and high levels of poverty that have resulted from the loss of blue-collar jobs like factory work.
The 37-year-old Vance has sought to style himself in the mold of former President Donald Trump by appealing to cultural conservatives and blue-collar white voters. Vance often trolls or criticizes his political opponents on social media, blaming them for all of America's ills in an effort to rally Republican base voters behind his campaign.
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