By Dan M. Berger
Five bills designed to “let kids be kids” were signed into law by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on May 17.
One outlaws transgender surgery and puberty blockers for minors.
Another halts what DeSantis called “the pronoun Olympics” in Florida schools.
Another bans the presence of minors at sexually explicit entertainment such as drag shows.
A fourth keeps biological men out of women’s locker rooms, restrooms, and correctional or juvenile facilities.
The fifth expands the access of students outside the traditional public school system—including private, virtual, and home school students—to school sports.
At a signing ceremony at Cambridge Christian School in Tampa, DeSantis went over the types of events that have caused conservative pushback.
They include child transgender surgeries gone wrong, schools pushing gender ideology by requiring children to declare their pronouns, banning of prayer at sports events and biological men competing in women’s sports.
“I feel very strongly as governor—but also just as a dad of a 6, a 5 and a 3-year-old—that we need to let our kids just be kids.
And we have a very crazy age that we live in,” DeSantis said. “There’s a lot of nonsense that gets floated around. And what we’ve said in Florida is, we are going to remain a refuge of sanity and a citadel of normalcy.”
“And kids should have an upbringing that reflects that. And I think there’s a lot of emphasis in other parts of the country and our society as a whole that take that away from them.”
Cambridge Christian, the site of the signing ceremony, had to sue the Florida High School Athletic Association to pray before athletic games, DeSantis said.
The audience heard from two people who spoke first-hand about the problems.
As a detransitioning advocate, Luka Hein said she had had mental health issues and “multiple comorbidities” as a teen.
“I was put down this path, instead of being given the help I needed, resulting in the first medical intervention I ever had being a double mastectomy at 16,” she said.
“I was one of the kids that needed a chance to just grow up and get the help I needed.
“I was one of the kids that needed the adults to step up and do what is right.”
Children see the world “in this very magical and innocence filled way,” Hein said. “And introducing kids to these concepts, and making them a permanent patient of the medical industry, is taking that way from them.
“Children deserve a chance to grow up whole and discover themselves in a way that will not link to an experimental medical industry for the rest of their lives.”
“I will live with the results of what was done to me for the rest of my life, including all the health issues I deal with.
“But other kids don’t have to now, thanks to what has gone on here in Florida.”
Tiffany Hanson, a mother of five from Indian River County, said she had seen the effects of school-taught transgender ideology on more than one of her children.
“I as a parent have experienced my child suffer from depression, anxiety, body dysmorphia, PTSD and suicidal ideation as a result,” Hanson said.
“One day, my daughter came home and told me she wanted to be called by different pronouns and felt like she was a different gender. I didn’t think much of it at first; as she is young, I was being supportive.
“As time went on, I realized how deep this had gotten, and how much this was influencing her life in a negative way,” she said.
“Unknown to me, the schools had been secretly pushing this transgender ideology and the classroom behind my back and encouraging her to question her gender, her sexuality, and her preferred pronouns.
“To this day, she has had to under undergo therapy because it has taken such a toll on her mental health,” Hanson said.
“It wasn’t just her. More than one of my children have come home telling me the exact same thing. They are being taught to question their entire identity by schools.
“These are 4th and 6th grade kids we are talking about here.
“This ideology can be seriously damaging to children, forcing them to question themselves to the extent that they have body dysmorphia and suicidal thoughts. This has to stop now,” she said.
She wasn’t speaking out for religious reasons, she said. “I am standing up because I am a parent and nobody gets to raise my children except me.”
Senate Bill 254, which outlaws permanent mutilation of minors, also requires adults receiving transgender surgeries and hormones to be informed about the irreversible nature and dangers.
It grants Florida courts jurisdiction to intervene and halt procedures for out-of-state children and creates pathways to sue for injuries or death resulting from mutilating surgeries or experimental puberty blockers given to a minor.
“You have a movement amongst I would say rogue elements of the medical establishment to do things that are basically the mutilation of minors,” DeSantis said.
House Bill 1069 protects students and teachers from having to “declare” their pronouns in school or be forced to use pronouns not based on biological sex.
House Bill 1438 protects children from sexually explicit adult performances, including strip clubs and drag shows. It imposes fines and license suspension for hotels and restaurants that admit children to such performances.
House Bill 1521 ensures women’s safety by requiring schools, jails, prisons, juvenile detention facilities, and public buildings with restrooms, locker rooms, or changing facilities, to have separate ones for men and women based on biological sex.
House Bill 225 expands access to youth support by allowing home-schooled children and those from virtual or private schools to participate in sports and extracurricular activities regardless of zip code.
It preserves the First Amendment right to free speech, including public prayer at the beginning of high school sporting events and it imposes state control over the Florida High School Athletic Association to protect women’s sports.