Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) gave a mealy-mouthed reply when asked what he’d do if one of his children turned out to be gay or transgender.
Though DeSantis has vocally pushed anti-LGBTQ measures in his home state, the politician indicated that he’d want privacy if any of his three kids came out, according to a Time magazine interview published Wednesday.
“Well, my children are my children,” DeSantis told journalist Molly Ball. “We’ll leave that—we’ll leave that between my wife and I.”
DeSantis, who has painted himself as a champion of the so-called parental rights movement, has enacted multiple pieces of legislation targeting the LGBTQ+ community during his time in office.
The governor signed Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Act in the spring of 2022, banning lessons on sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through third grade. In May 2023, he expanded the measure to cover grades four through 12.
That same month, DeSantis signed a bill to prohibit gender-affirming care for minors and another to restrict where trans Floridians can go to the bathroom.
Speaking to Time, the politician defended the ban on certain medical treatments for transgender kids, saying it is “totally appropriate for us to say that protection of children means that those things are not appropriate.”
Critics have called the bans dangerous, pointing to high rates of depression and suicide among transgender youths who do not have access to gender-affirming health care.
In addition to restricting trans minors’ rights, DeSantis has also called for more “curriculum transparency” in Florida schools, arguing that parents should have a say in how sensitive subjects like race, sexuality and gender are taught.
“Kids should be kids—there shouldn’t be an agenda,” he told Ball. “I didn’t feel like there was an agenda when I was growing up.”
DeSantis is currently trailing Donald Trump as they both vie for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.
Last month, the governor dismissed his poor poll numbers by putting the blame on the media.
“I think if you look at the people like the corporate media, who are they going after?” DeSantis said during an appearance on Fox News. “Who do they not want to be the nominee? They’re going after me.”
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