Florida legislative bills targeting LGBTQ+ community impacting youth

Published: Mar. 24, 2023 at 4:15 PM EDT
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The current bills targeting the LGBTQ+ community moving through the state legislature are having a profound impact on LGBTQ+ youth.

The sign Jasper Gamer made for this weekend’s Palm Beach Pride Parade holds special meaning.

“I feel like being cis to me was a phase,” Gamer said.

The term cisgender refers to someone whose gender identity matches their sex at birth.

“Well, I’ve kind of always felt like I was not my birth gender. I always knew that I wasn’t a girl,” Gamer said. “[The name] Jasper just kind of felt more me.”

Gamer is 16 years old. They/them is Gamer’s preferred pronouns. WFLX’s Michelle Quesada received parental consent before interviewing Gamer.

The youth community at Compass Community Center in Lake Worth Beach gives Gamer hope.

“People were respecting my name and my preferred pronouns, and I started making friends,” Gamer said.

During a political climate, that can sometimes feel like a constant attack.

“All those comments are only coming from straight cis people or people that don’t know what it’s like to be trans,” they said.

Florida Senate Bill 254 aims to prohibit sex-reassignment prescriptions, or procedures, for minors that is impacting gender-affirming care.

“What a minor decides to do with their body and transition, especially a trans individual," Gamer said, "it should be their own business with their parents, and it should be their own decision."

House Bill 1223 would restrict the use of gender pronouns in schools. The bill would "define sex as the binary division of individuals based upon reproductive function" and mandate "that a person's sex is an immutable biological trait and that it is false to ascribe to a person a pronoun that doesn't not correspond to such person's sex."

Senate Bill 1320 aims to prohibit instruction on gender education through eighth grade.

With all of these bills, and more, targeting the LGBTQ+ community, parents are going to to the Compass Community Center in Lake Worth Beach for support.

“We have a monthly parents’ group that has really become a big community for parents to share resources,” Compass Community Center Youth and Family Services Director Amanda Canete said.

Canete said more parents are seeking help and encouragement from others in the same situation.

“It’s bringing more people into our space, because they realize they need to be surrounded by community,” she said.

Amid fear and uncertainty, Gamer said they are looking to celebrate how far they have come.

“This is the first pride parade that I’m going to participate in that I get to show that I’m in the community,” they said.

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