Florida Lawmaker Told Nonbinary Candidate He’s “Manufacturing” His Identity

He allegedly made the remark prior to a hearing of his bill to punish doctors for providing care to trans youth.

A Republican lawmaker reportedly told a nonbinary candidate running for the Florida House that he was "manufacturing" his gender identity.

Elijah Manley went to the Florida Capitol yesterday, February 3, to speak out against a bill that would make it a felony for doctors to provide transition-related care, like hormone therapy and gender confirmation surgery, for minors. The legislation—titled the Vulnerable Child Protection Act, also known as HB 1365—would punish doctors with a maximum fine of $10,000, or with a 15 year prison sentence.

While waiting for the hearing to begin in the House's Health Quality Subcommittee, Manley stopped in to speak with the bill's sponsor, Rep. Anthony Sabatini (at top, left, with Laura Loomer).

Manley tweeted about his experience speaking with Sabatini, calling it a "rhetoric filled meeting," in which the Republican said nonbinary people "manufacture" their gender identities.

In follow up tweets, he further characterized the meeting as "sad and nasty," saying Sabatini was "a bit more rabid" than he originally thought.

"I went in with a very open mind, and I thought he would have an open mind too," a disappointed Manley told the Miami New Times.

"What's happening right now in Florida and around the nation in terms of gender reassignment is really sort of the Wild West," Sabatini claimed during the bill's hearing. "There are no real valid, serious diagnoses given to a child before they go down the path of changing their gender and their sexual identity."

He cited the American College of Pediatricians to back up his claims, which led Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith to note in the hearing, as well as on Twitter, that the group has been deemed a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for its anti-LGBTQ views.

Smith asked why they were being asked to "criminalize health care that follows what the overwhelming consensus of medical professionals in the nation and in the world say is appropriate and lifesaving for transgender youth?"

When it was Manley's turn to speak, he brought up his conversation earlier in the day with Sabatini, calling it "very enlightening."

"I discovered that the representative believes that we are 'manufacturing' our identities and that this is more of a broader national movement to basically stigmatize us," he added. A number of other states have introduced similar legislation to prevent doctors from providing health care to transgender youth, including Missouri, Florida, Illinois, Oklahoma, Colorado, South Carolina, Kentucky, and South Dakota.

The subcommittee took no vote on Sabatini's bill, rendering it effectively dead.

Voicemails left with Sabatini's office regarding the alleged comment were not returned in time for publication.

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