In a massive blow to trans rights, Florida has effectively banned medical care for trans youth.
Over the last couple of months, the state’s lawmakers and its Republican governor Ron DeSantis have targeted the trans community and gender-affirming treatments with harmful legislation and rhetoric.
In June, the conservative governor’s surgeon general Joseph Ladapo asked the state’s board to ban medical care for trans youth.
“I recommend against certain pharmaceutical, non-pharmaceutical and surgical treatments for gender dysphoria,” Ladapo wrote in the misguided memo.
His letter also cited a debunked transphobic guidance report from April – which condemned the social and medical transition of trans youth.
On 28 October, a joint committee from Florida’s Board of Medicine and the Florida Board of Osteopathic Medicine held a public forum regarding the proposed rule – which would ban puberty blockers, hormone therapy and surgical treatments for trans individuals under the age of 18.
After approving a draft of the archaic rule, the Board of Medicine held another meeting on 4 November and finalised the ban with a 6 to 3 vote.
According to a report from The New York Times, the harmful move makes Florida the first state to ban the life-saving medical treatments through its Board of Medicine.
In a 6-3 vote, the Boards of Med & Osteopathy finalized their rules to restrict gender-affirming care for young people.
Advocates said they will petition for an additional hearing and workshop. If denied, the rules will enter a 21-day public comment period before the final vote.
— Equality Florida (@equalityfl) November 4, 2022
In addition to the board’s shocking approval, the Florida Board of Osteopathic Medicine also voted to ban gender-affirming care for trans youth.
However, their vote exempted trans minors who are enrolled in clinical studies regarding gender dysphoria.
In response to the news, an array of LGBTQ+ activists and organisations slammed the aforementioned medical boards for incorporating conservative political points in their decision-making process.
“With young lives on the line, another state agency has placed the political ambitions of Ron DeSantis over its duty to protect Floridians,” said Nikole Parker, Equality Florida’s Director of Transgender Equality.
“These rules, as written, put transgender youth at higher risk of depression, anxiety, and suicidality.
“Those are the facts purposely ignored by a Board of Medicine stacked with DeSantis political appointees who have put their toxic politics over people’s health and wellbeing. Transgender Floridians exist.”
Human Rights Campaign’s legal director Sarah Warbelow echoed similar sentiments in an additional statement.
“Today’s vote to deny medically necessary, age-appropriate healthcare to transgender young people will do irreparable harm to countless Floridian kids and their families,” she said.
“The decision was based upon incomplete data and manipulated claims that do not reflect science, medicine, or any other evidence-based approach to life-saving, medically necessary care.”
The new ban will take effect after a 21-day public comment period.