Ron DeSantis Seizes Medical Records From Trans College Students

University of South Florida students gather to protest the motion. Justin Blanco Ron DeSantis asked all Florida public universities to turn over the medical records of all trans students. Insider has confirmed that six of the 12 universities have complied with the request. Now college students across the state are planning a walkout to protest the governor’s request.

Students across Florida are planning a statewide walkout after Gov. Ron DeSantis asked all public universities to provide student health services data on transgender students seeking gender-affirming care at institutions.

DeSantis asked to see the records of any students who had gender dysphoria in the past five years. He also wants their ages and the dates they received gender-affirming care. The deadline for submitting these documents was February 10th.

Insider has confirmed that the University of Florida, Florida State University, University of Central Florida, Florida A&M University, Florida International University, and University of North Florida have complied with the request, but have not yet received feedback from the others .

Students at these universities are now planning rallies for next week in tandem with the February 23 nationwide strike. Ben Braver, a junior at the University of South Florida and the outreach officer for the school’s College Democrats Chapter, leads the initiative known as the Stand for Freedom Florida Walkout.

“Hate is spread when it’s harmless, when it seems silly, and when it seems like taking a stand would be an overreaction,” Braver told Insider. “We, like every generation, must stand up for the civil rights that have been fought for, won and are now at stake.”

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Andy Pham, a senior and longtime member of the University of South Florida’s Trans+ Student Union, said he sees the state’s move as a direct attack on trans people’s rights.

“They want to ban us from existence by law,” Pham said. “It starts with us attacking our healthcare system, attacking our right to exist in the public space, trying to monitor — all of that.”

In January, 20 University of South Florida students held a rally to protest DeSantis’ request. They then started an online petition asking the school administration not to submit the medical records. The petition received over 2,600 signatures, but school officials said they plan to submit the paperwork anyway. Insiders could not confirm whether the University of South Florida submitted the data.

“As a public university, USF has an obligation to respond to requests from our elected officials,” the university said in a statement, according to WUSF. “However, the university will not provide any information that identifies an individual patient or violates patient privacy laws.”

Among those who have signed up to support the strike are the Dream Defenders, Florida College Democrats, Rep. Anna Eskamani and 26-year-old Congressman Maxwell Frost.

“The governor is abusing his power,” Frost told Insider. “He’s targeting people who don’t agree with him — people who might disagree with him, marginalized communities.”

When an insider asked why the state requested the health records of transgender college students, the state’s assistant press secretary pointed to DeSantis’ second inaugural address, in which the governor stated, “We seek to fully understand the level of public funding.” towards such non-academic pursuits to best assess how to reorient our colleges and universities toward education and truth.”

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The American Civil Liberties Union reports that Florida lawmakers introduced 85 bills restricting gender-affirming healthcare during this term, up from 43 bills last year.

Eskamani said DeSantis should prepare for a student backlash.

“When the students see the visual representation of their classmates around them getting up and walking out, they will latch on and help us fight back,” she said. “That will happen.”

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