Florida begins rule-changing process to ban gender-affirming care for trans youth

·2 min read

Florida’s Board of Medicine has voted to consider a new standard of care for transgender youth in the state in conflict with major medical associations, federal guidance and urgent demands from LGBT+ advocates and health providers, in a move that critics have called a political attack against trans people by Governor Ron DeSantis and his administartion.

On 5 August, the board agreed to a request from Florida’s chief health official to reject what he falsely called “experimental” treatments that lack “quality evidence” after the state issued widely debunked guidance against affirming medical care, including “social” transitioning measures like changing pronouns or wearing different clothes.

The board’s decision initiates a formal rule-changing process that would deny trans youth from receiving such care and forcibly detransition them.

Researchers cited in the Florida health department’s April memo said their work was misrepresented in an attempt to justify denying gender-affirming care to Florida’s trans youth.

A report from Vice found that all 12 citations in the memo either distort the work that was cited or come from explicitly anti-trans sources, with Florida’s Department of Health claiming that it could not find any evidence indicating that such treatments are safe, labelling them “experimental” – despite the work they cited saying the opposite.

The department asked the state’s Board of Medicine to prohibit “sex reassignment surgery or any other procedure that alters primary or secondary sexual characteristics for the treatment of gender dysphoria” – including puberty blockers and hormone replacement therapies – for patients younger than 18 years old.

Adults seeking such care must also seek approval from the board, according to the health department.

The department also suggested that physicians who are already supporting patients who are receiving that care should stop – which would allow the state to forcefully detransition transgender people in Florida.

This is a developing story