CLERMONT, Fla. - Should children be allowed to get gender reassignment surgery? One Florida lawmaker wants to make it illegal.
Rep. Anthony Sabatini, R-Clermont, is calling his proposed legislation common sense.
"Basically, [it] says a person has to wait until they’re 18 years before they get a permanent physical sex change," said Sabatini.
The Vulnerable Child Protection Act, which Sabatini filed last week, would make it a felony for a doctor to change the sex of a minor or give them anything that would change their gender. This includes physical surgery, hormones, and puberty-blocking medication.
"A lot of times it’s not a permanent decision that they think they have a different sexual identity that they have and they might change their mind and come back the other way," Sabatini explained. "Ao making that permanent decision at such a young age, they’re not informed, they’re not adults, and they shouldn’t be making that decision and parents shouldn’t be leading them either way."
The legislation has raised concerns from organizations that work with transgender youth. Heather Wilkie, executive director of Zebra Coalition in Orlando, believes if passed, this law could be damaging to young people's mental health. She feels the government should stay out of these decisions.
"That’s why it’s really important to organizations like Zebra Coalition, because that’s the population we serve, and we want to protect the kids," Wilkie said. "What we believe is that we want to keep it up to families and physicians, rather than lawmakers as to a treatment plan for a child."
Sabatini fires back by saying he doesn't believe this should fall under healthcare when it comes to a child.
"To think that anyone is allowed to change the sexual identity of a small child is disturbing."