NPR, Beyond Parody on DeSantistan: Trans ‘Florida Teen Flees for a Better Life’

May 16th, 2023 6:15 AM

More taxpayer-supported “gender-affirming” propaganda, full of cringy sentimentality, came courtesy of National Public Radio’s misnamed All Things Considered news program Thursday: “As conservative states target trans rights, a Florida teen flees for a better life” The hagiographic tale under the guise of news was told by Stephanie Colombini, a health reporter for Tampa Bay’s NPR-member station WUSF.

(Colombini, naturally, has pronouns in her Twitter bio. She took the photo that accompanies the story.)

The rearranged print edition of the radio story captured the melodramatic tale of Josie, a teenager forced to “flee” the burgeoning authoritarian regime of….Florida, to start a new life in the free state of Rhode Island.

While packing for Rhode Island, Josie and her mom reminisced about the clothing she wore to special events, such as a homecoming dance. Josie was just days away from leaving her childhood home in St. Augustine, Florida.

Good times like these have felt scarce lately. Josie, who's transgender, no longer feels welcome in Florida. Her family requested they be identified by their first names only, fearing retaliation in a state where Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and other officials have politicized and passed anti-trans policies in health care and education.

So fearful of retaliation -- that Colombini took and published several photos of the family to accompany her story?

Conservative states across the country are pushing a record number of bills that target LGBTQ rights, particularly transgender rights. That's forced residents like Josie to rethink where they want to call home.

She’s now staying with her aunt and uncle in Rhode Island.

Florida is one of more than a dozen states that have passed bans on gender-affirming medical treatments for minors, such as puberty blockers, hormone therapy and certain surgical procedures….Most major national medical associations agree gender-affirming care is safe and effective. But the Florida medical boards argued the treatments were "experimental," and barred doctors from prescribing them to minors.

Josie’s plight doesn’t exactly resemble state persecution:

Josie wanted to play on the girls' tennis team, but a Florida law passed in 2021 bars trans women from competing on school teams meant for athletes assigned female at birth.

It was also painful when Florida teachers had to start watching what they said about LGBTQ issues, a result of the chilling effect from another recent Florida law, the Parental Rights in Education Law. Critics call that the "Don't Say Gay" law.

NPR found a “queer” psychologist to agree with its radical thesis of words-as-harm:

The new laws and anti-trans political rhetoric are hurting kids across Florida, says Jennifer Evans, a clinical psychologist at the University of Florida's Youth Gender Program in Gainesville….Bills don't have to pass to cause harm, says Evans, who identifies as queer.

"It's a lot to feel like enough people in this country don't agree with your existence--which actually isn't affecting them – that people want to shut down other people's access to living complete and affirmed lives," she says. "It's painful to see that."

Of course, having boys in the girls’ bathroom and in girls’ sports “affects” quite a lot of teenage girls.

Gov. Ron DeSantis' office has not responded to several requests for comment to address the concerns of families like Josie's. The state has taken additional legal steps to restrict trans rights since she left in April.

Josie's parents say they will keep their pride flag waving in the front yard and advocate for equality while their daughter is away.

NPR even provided two trans-related phone numbers “for support.” Now close your eyes and imagine an alternate universe where NPR provides phone numbers for a pro-life rescue ministry, and realize how far-out the publicly funded radio network has gone out on the limb of "gender affirmation."