USF students protest to defend transgender healthcare on campus
Tampa, FL – On Tuesday, February 7, Tampa Bay Students for a Democratic Society organized a protest to demand that administration at the University of South Florida protect transgender students by not submitting a survey on information about gender affirming healthcare requested by Governor Ron DeSantis. A crowd of about 50 students chanted “USF don’t comply!” and “Protect trans lives!”
Students gave speeches discussing the realities of seeking healthcare as a trans person on a college campus and how DeSantis’ agenda makes those realities even more difficult.
At the end of January, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis requested information from many state universities regarding treatments sought out by students, including hormone prescriptions and gender affirming surgery. Information is also being requested on the number of students receiving these types of treatments, along with their ages. This comes during an onslaught of anti-LGBTQ policies as well as legislation restricting education concerning Critical Race Theory and conversations on LGBTQ topics in the classroom. Students and educators across Florida have opposed these attacks on education.
Yuki Shao, a member of Tampa Bay SDS said, “As students here, we want USF to continue providing affirming services for all students despite the governor’s attempts to intimidate them. This is really an action to cut funding for queer people and for trans people. This is DeSantis’ attempt to intimidate colleges and universities into becoming less inclusive of their students for his own political gain.”
Victoria Hinckley, a member of Tampa Bay Students for a Democratic Society at the USF campus and speaker at the protest, said, “We have to be the ones to demand trans students be protected since our university administration won’t, and continues to perpetuate transphobic attacks.”
The fight for trans rights in Florida does not end here. With the continuation of Ron DeSantis’ agenda and upcoming campaign for presidency, we must lead the fight against attacks on the LGBTQ community.