Gender Identity Versus Ron DeSantis’ Anti-Transgender Legislation

Gender Identity Versus Ron DeSantis’ Anti-Transgender Legislation

Photo by Nikolas Gannon on Unsplash

On June 6th, 2023, The New York Times released an article titled “Judge Sides With Families Fighting Florida’s Ban on Gender Care for Minors.” The writers, Rick Rojas and Azeen Ghorayshi, describe the increased anti-LGBT (specifically anti-trans) legislation in the state of Florida under Governor Ron DeSantis’ power.

Some of the past bans include requiring that public school employees must call students by the pronouns matching the gender on their birth certificate (no matter the child’s preference), making it a misdemeanor to use the restroom opposite of the gender someone was assigned at birth, and punishing businesses that admit minors to “adult live performances,” including drag shows.

The most recent law, signed on May 17th, blocked the proper treatment for someone’s gender identity, including mental health therapy, puberty blockers, and hormone treatments. Alongside blocking the treatment of someone’s gender identity, this law also includes barring gender-transition surgery for minors, altering child custody statutes to treat transition care as equivalent to child abuse, and forbidding the use of state funds to pay for transition care.

In opposition to the new law, Federal Judge Robert L. Hinkle sued the state and ruled to allow three transgender children to be prescribed puberty blockers despite Florida law. The plaintiffs have urged Judge Hinkle to block the part of this law that bars medical professionals from prescribing transition-related medications to minors. Hinkle noted that these bans are unlikely to survive under constitutional scrutiny, which is why he is taking action against them.

In reflection on this news story,  it is important to understand the social problems that LGBTQ+ people face: problems such as pronouns, bathrooms, gender-affirming healthcare, and so much more. People outside of the community may not understand these problems but they are truly a life-or-death situation for many LGBTQ+ individuals.

Respecting someone’s pronouns is a human right. Just as someone calls you by the name or nickname that you prefer, even as a cisgender person, everyone should respect each other’s pronouns. Without this respect, transgender people are made to feel less important than cisgender people, which can lead to depression and even suicide. Similarly, using the bathroom that fits someone’s gender identity, receiving gender-affirming healthcare, and having basic human rights are all forms of suicide prevention.

Part of the problem involved in the concept of transphobia is the normalization of the gender binary, forcing people into their assigned gender at birth through stereotypes and even things as extreme as anti-trans laws.

One of DeSantis’ arguments includes that “it’s wrong to have gender ideology and telling kids that they have been born in the wrong body” (DeSantis). Saying that having gender ideology is wrong is something that could be deeply analyzed in a whole separate paper, but for the case of this assignment, a shorter analysis will suffice.

Gender ideology is the idea that gender exists, including the social construction of gender. DeSantis said that “it’s wrong to have gender ideology,” yet gendered clothing, toys, language, books, education, and activities still exist and many parents are alright with that: pink for girls, blue for boys, ballet for girls, soccer for boys, dolls for girls, and action figures and toy cars for boys. Ironically, DeSantis thinks gender ideology is wrong, yet he still thinks that the social construction of gender is good.

Lastly, gender inequality is deeply rooted in these anti-trans laws and bans. Intersectionality is crucial in this analysis because while some feminists fight for equality for women, intersectionality also helps fight for transgender people to have equality amidst cisgender people.

Overall, analyzing the words and actions of DeSantis and Judge Hinkle, it is apparent that gender inequality still very much exists and that the fight for equal rights among genders has grown to intersectionality with the LGBTQIA+ community. You can’t have gender equality without transgender equality because trans rights are human rights.

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