Florida Legislature accused of ‘kidnapping’ trans kids after defiant protest: ‘We are officially there’

Florida lawmakers have been accused of kidnapping trans children after a defiant protest against anti-trans laws in the House of Representatives.

On Wednesday (19 April) a TikTok video was shared on Twitter which showed parents separated from their children while at the Florida Legislature. 

In the video, which is a recorded version of a TikTok live by a user called Kyle (@bananabreadmuff1n), people can be heard chanting “let them go” and “kidnappers”. 

It is explained in the video that the children were being held behind a door to the House of Representatives gallery. 

Kyle is heard narrating the situation as it unfolded, saying: “The parents are here, they are withholding them from the parents illegally.” 

The legislature has debated a number of laws which seek to crack down on trans rights, including banning gender-affirming care and revoking bathroom access based on gender identity. 

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Another law aims to prevent children from coming into contact with any form of drag performance. 

The parents and their children were at the House of Representatives in the state capital, Tallahassee, on Tuesday (18 April) to protest against SB 254, which would see medical professionals banned from providing puberty blockers and hormone therapy to trans minors.

During the session, a number of protesters – adults and children – threw underwear on to the lawmakers from the gallery, with messages “not your business” and “leave my genitals alone” written on them. 

Speaking to PinkNews, Kyle explained those who threw the underwear were detained, including the youngsters. 

“The parents and guardians of said minors were not allowed to enter, which is illegal,” he said. “They withheld children who were queer from their parents.” 

Kyle added that one person was arrested during the incident for “disturbing the peace”. 

The footage comes as parents of trans children are facing increasing concern that the state will seek to remove their kids from the family home. 

SB 254 has been controversial from the moment it was introduced, for its ban on life-saving trans healthcare and because it stipulates that Florida courts could remove trans children from supportive homes. 

When the bill was tabled in March, the legislation’s documents stated that courts could take “emergency jurisdiction” of Floridan trans youth to “vacate, stay or modify a child-custody determination of a court of another state” to “protect” trans youth from receiving gender-affirming healthcare. 

The latest version of the bill on the Florida House of Representatives’ website no longer appears to contain such measures. 

During the Tuesday session, Republican Randy Fine – the sponsor of the bill – reportedly said: “There’s evil in this world and we face it here today.”

Newsweek quoted him as saying: “SB 254 would make it illegal to do certain medical treatments on children that have the result of amputating perfectly good body parts.”

Last week, he seemed to suggest that he didn’t care if the LGBTQ+ community was erased.

Earlier this month, human rights group Equality Florida issued an “unprecedented” warning to LGBTQ+ travellers planning to visit the Sunshine State. 

The organisation warned that following the passage of several anti-queer bills in the south-eastern state, LGBTQ+ travellers face risks to their health, safety and freedom. 

PinkNews has contacted the Florida House of Representatives for comment.