Florida Boards of Medicine and Osteopathy Advance Rule to Ban Lifesaving Care for Transgender Kids
Florida Boards of Medicine and Osteopathy Advance Rule to Restrict Lifesaving Care for Transgender Kids
Anti-trans activists given priority in public comment while transgender Floridians are silenced
ORLANDO, FL -- Today, the Boards of Medicine and Osteopathy advanced the development of a proposed rule to restrict gender affirming care for transgender youth in Florida. The groups voted to send the rule, which would likely bar puberty blockers, hormone replacement therapy and extremely rare surgical interventions as treatments for gender dysphoria in youth, to the full Boards for finalization and a vote. Maria Garcia and Nicole Justice, two of the Board of Medicine’s consumer advocates, voted no. TransAction Florida, Florida’s statewide network of transgender and nonbinary Floridians, convened a press conference with health care providers, legal experts, and directly impacted Floridians immediately following the meeting to denounce the dangerous movement by these state agencies toward banning care and demanding an end to the attacks on transgender Floridians. Video of the press conference will be available this afternoon at https://www.facebook.com/equalityfl/videos .
“It needs to be repeated without end: gender-affirming care is lifesaving care,” said Nikole Parker, Director of Transgender Equality. “When we affirm young people, they are less likely to face depression, anxiety, and suicide. When we affirm young people, they are more likely to grow into well-rounded adults and thrive. When we affirm young people, we assure them that they are perfect exactly as they are. 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. This cruelty, on display during today’s sham meeting in which transgender Floridians and their allies were silenced, will cost lives and the Boards of Medicine and Osteopathy should reject this dangerous rule.”
The rule-making process was initiated in the wake of a thoroughly-debunked letter from Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo in April that officially positioned the Department of Health against lifesaving health care for Florida’s transgender youth. In the letter and subsequent appearances, the DeSantis Administration has regularly peddled misinformation about what gender-affirming care entails, its health benefits, and the process by which families work with medical professionals to access that care. The administration even went so far as to assert that the government, not parents, knows best what clothing children should wear and which haircuts they should receive.
In its quest to use the dangerous rule as fuel for the governor’s presidential ambitions, the DeSantis Administration has also called upon discredited quacks with dubious professional histories as “expert witnesses” on the subject of gender dysphoria. James Cantor, a NY-based psychologist whose testimony on the subject has already been rejected by a court in Alabama, was scrubbed from the list of witnesses by the DeSantis Administration after his work advocating for the normalization of pedophilia was scrutinized online. Dr. Cantor was cited by the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) earlier this year when the agency voted to end Medicaid coverage for gender-affirming care. In today’s hearing, anti-trans activists from across the country and globe were present and given a priority position in public testimony at the expense of pro-LGBTQ and transgender advocates in the room from Florida who made up the vast majority of public comment requests.
Over 50 advocates for transgender youth packed the meeting room today and thousands of people have sent messages to board members, since the start of this process, expressing their support for these young people, a demonstration of the unpopularity of continued attacks on the rights of youth and their families to access the health care they need by DeSantis and his allies.
The Boards of Medicine and Osteopathy are among the state agencies stacked by Governor DeSantis with right-wing extremists and subverted into weapons against LGBTQ Floridians. AHCA’s rule ending Medicaid coverage for gender-affirming care in the state went into effect this summer. Last week, the State Board of Education adopted a new series of rules dramatically expanding enforcement of the Don’t Say LGBTQ Law, putting teachers’ licenses at risk and targeting school districts with LGBTQ-inclusive policies regarding bathrooms and locker rooms. In July, the governor weaponized the Department of Business and Professional Regulation against an LGBTQ-owned small business in Miami, threatening to strip the restaurant of its liquor license after they hosted a drag performance at their weekly Sunday Brunch.
The rule now heads to the Board of Medicine and Board of Osteopathy for a final vote.