Florida begins process to change rules to ban gender-affirming care for trans youth

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

On Aug. 5, the board approved a request from the Florida health official to deny what he falsely called “experimental” treatments that lack “proof of quality” after the state issued widely debunked guidelines against confirming medical care, including ” social” transitional measures such as changing pronouns or changing clothes.

The decision by the governor-appointed board kicks off a formal rule change process that would deny trans youth such care and force them to switch. The process can take several months and does not immediately lead to a ban on gender-affirming care.

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

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A report from Vice found that all 12 citations in the memo either distort 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 by using them. label “experimental” – despite the work they cited and claimed the opposite.

The department asked the state’s Board of Medicine to ban “sex reassignment surgery or any other procedure that alters primary or secondary sex characteristics for the treatment of gender dysphoria” — including puberty blockers and hormone replacement therapies — for patients under the age of 18.

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

The department also suggested that doctors who already support patients receiving that care should stop — which would allow the state to forcibly detransize transgender people in Florida.

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The guidelines from Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo challenge federal health guidelines that state that gender-affirming care for young transgender people is “critical to overall health and well-being, as the child or adolescent can focus on social transitions and increase their confidence during the transition.” navigating the healthcare system.”

In June, Mr. Ladapo told the state council that widely supported evidence from medical professionals supporting gender-affirming care is “extremely weak” and said the state “must protect children from politically based medicine”.

Current guidelines do not recommend gender-confirming surgery for children under the age of 18, and they are generally not a candidate for surgical transition.

A joint statement by Lambda Legal, Southern Legal Counsel, Florida Health Justice Project and the National Health Law Program urged the board to “stop playing politics with people’s health care” and reject state guidelines that conflict with the guidelines of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, the American Medical Association, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Academy of Family Physicians, among others.

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“Existing, established and evidence-based guidelines already guide health professionals in prescribing treatments for gender dysphoria,” the group’s statement said.

Changing those standards of care “would make it more difficult or even impossible for Florida doctors to provide transgender patients with what is widely recognized as medically necessary care for gender dysphoria,” they wrote. “The proposal is based on clear animus towards transgender people and junk science.”

Sarah Warbelow, legal director of the Human Rights Campaign, said Governor DeSantis’ “attack on transgender Floridians” is an “attempt to drive a wedge between parents, children, and their teachers and doctors.”

This is a story in development

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