Florida medical boards advance rule banning gender-affirming care for minors

Florida’s ban on gender-affirming care for transgender youth has moved one step closer to reality after a joint committee of the state’s two medical boards voted in favor of a proposed rule that would could significantly limit care for the treatment of gender dysphoria in minors. .

At a contentious five-hour meeting in Orlando on Friday, members of the state board of medicine and osteopathic medicine voted to send the controversial rule to the full board on Friday. If passed, the rule would likely prohibit young trans people from using puberty blockers, hormone replacement therapy as well as surgery – which are extremely rare – as treatment for their gender dysphoria.

Trans rights advocates and right-wing activists who oppose gender-affirming care for young people showed up at the meeting, which was open to the public and included testimony from six experts on gender-affirming care. But according to Equality Florida, “anti-trans activists” were given priority to voice their thoughts, “while transgender Floridians [were] quiet.”

State Representative Carlos G. Smith, a Democrat, tweeted that the meeting was “a sham.”

Smith, the state’s first Latino LGBTQ lawmaker, wrote that any speakers who agreed with the state’s position were allowed to speak first. “When they ran out of people on their side, they cut off public comments from Floridians OPPOSING the politicization of gender-affirming care.”

Discussion of a proposed rule that would restrict gender-affirming care for trans youth followed a “completely debunked” memo released by the state Department of Health in April, according to Equality Florida.

The memo, called by the Human Rights Campaign “dangerous and life-threatening”, recommended against providing gender-affirming treatment to young people by rejecting the “scientific, medical and evidence-based approach” used by the US Department of Health. health. and Human Services. Instead, the state “dangerously” selected information to assert its claims, the LGBTQ organization said.

According to HHS guidelines, “gender-affirming care improves the mental health and general well-being of gender-differentiated children and adolescents” – an assessment supported by major medical associations in the United States, including American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

“Gender-affirming care is life-saving care,” said Nikole Parker, Director of Transgender Equality, after the meeting. “When we say that young people are less likely to face depression, anxiety and suicide,” she said, adding that the state’s “relentless transphobia” puts the lives of trans youth in danger.

“Medical decisions should be made between providers, young people and their families — not politicians,” Parker said. “This cruelty, exposed during [Friday’s] A sham meeting in which transgender Floridians and their allies were silenced will cost lives and medical and osteopathic boards should reject this dangerous rule.

In a study published in 2020, American researchers analyzed data from more than 20,000 trans adults, aged 18 to 36, and found that 90% of those who did not have access to pubertal suppression during adolescence thought or planned to die by suicide. — a rate well above the 75% of those who had access to it.