Ted Eytan via Flickr

In a blow to trans rights, a Florida medical board committee has moved forward with a ban on gender-affirming care for trans youth. 

Over the last year-and-a-half, the state’s lawmakers and its Republican governor Ron DeSantis have targeted the trans community with harmful legislation and rhetoric. 

Back 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.

The horrific letter also cited the state’s Department of Health and their transphobic guidance report from April – which condemned the social and medical transition of trans youth.

But despite the letter receiving backlash from the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Paediatrics, the board’s members began the process of considering a ban at the start of August.

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 draft rule.

During the tense five-hour meeting and an array of testimonies were delivered from LGBTQ+ individuals, medical professionals and state citizens.

However at the end of the extensive meeting, the conservative committee approved the archaic proposal – which would ban puberty blockers, hormone therapy and surgical treatments for trans individuals under the age of 18. 

In addition to the ban, the new rule would only apply to trans youth looking to start gender-affirming care.

According to Tampa Bay Times, individuals who are already on hormone therapy or puberty blockers will be able to proceed with treatment. 

Shortly after the voting concluded, LGBTQ+ activists and organisations slammed the committee for their vote. 

“It needs to be repeated without end: gender-affirming care is lifesaving care. When we affirm young people, they are less likely to face depression, anxiety, and suicide,” said Nikole Parker, the director of Florida’s Transgender Equality.

“The unrelenting transphobia of Governor DeSantis and, as a result, the state agencies he has subverted for his own political gain is putting the lives of trans young people at risk. Medical decisions should be made between providers, young people, and their families — not politicians.”

Trans teen Jacob Wiley, who wasn’t allowed to speak during the meeting, echoed similar sentiments during a press conference for Equality Florida. 

“This rule being proposed, to put it in the easiest terms, it’s going to cause kids to kill themselves because that’s the point where I was before I was put on testosterone,” he revealed. “That’s the point where so many of these kids are that aren’t able to be on testosterone yet or hormones.”

With the horrifying rule officially approved by the committee, it now heads to the state’s board of medicine for one last vote – which is set to take place on 4 November.