Florida begins process to ban gender-affirming care for transgender youth
The Florida Board of Medicine voted to consider a new standard of care for transgender youth in the state at odds with major medical associations, federal guidance and urgent demands from LGBT+ advocates and health care providers, in a move that critics called a political attack on transgender people. of Governor Ron DeSantis and his administration.
On Aug. 5, the board agreed to a request from Florida’s chief health officer to reject what he falsely called “experimental” treatments that lack “quality evidence” after the state issued widely debunked guidelines against affirming medical care, including ” social’ transition measures such as changing pronouns or wearing different clothes.
The governor-appointed board’s decision begins a formal process to change rules that would bar transgender youth from receiving such care and forcibly remove them. The process can take several months and does not immediately establish a ban on gender-affirming care.
Researchers cited in the Florida Department of Health’s April memo said their work was misrepresented in an attempt to justify denying gender-affirming care to Florida’s transgender youth.
A report from Vice found that all 12 citations in the memo either misrepresent the work cited or come from explicitly anti-trans sources, with the Florida Department of Health claiming it could find no evidence that such treatments are safe, labeling them as “experimental” – despite the work they cited saying otherwise.
The department asked the state Medical Board to ban “sex reassignment surgery or any other procedure that changes primary or secondary sexual characteristics to treat gender dysphoria” — including puberty blockers and hormone replacement therapies — for patients under of 18 years.
Adults seeking such care must also seek approval from the board, according to the health department.
The department also suggested that doctors already advocating for patients receiving that care would have to stop — which would allow the state to forcibly remove transgender people in Florida.
The Directive issued by Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo pushes against federal health guidance which finds that gender-affirming care for young transgender people is “critical to overall health and well-being, as it allows the child or adolescent to focus on social transitions and can increase their confidence when navigating the health care system ».
In June, Mr Ladapo told the state board that the widely supported evidence from medical professionals supporting gender-affirming care was “extremely weak” and said the state must “protect children from policy-based medicine ».
Current guidelines do not recommend gender-affirming surgery for children under the age of 18, and they usually do not qualify for surgical transition.
A joint statement from Lambda Legal, Southern Legal Counsel, the Florida Health Justice Project and the National Health Law Program urged the board to “stop playing politics with people’s health care” and reject the state’s guidelines, which come contrary to the guidelines of the Global Professional Association for Transgender Health, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Academy of Family Physicians, among others.
“Existing, established, and evidence-based guidelines already guide clinicians in prescribing treatments for gender dysphoria,” according to the groups’ statement.
Changing these standards of care “would make it more difficult or even impossible for doctors in Florida to provide transgender patients with what is widely recognized to be medically necessary care for gender dysphoria,” they wrote. “The proposal is based on clear hostility to trans people as well as junk science.”
Sarah Warbelow, legal director of the Human Rights Campaign, said Gov. DeSantis’ “attack on transgender Floridians” is an “attempt to drive a wedge between parents, children and their teachers and doctors.”
This is a developing story