Transgender youth health care ban approved by Florida medical boards

The decision will be followed by a weekslong approval process.

November 4, 2022, 4:29 PM

The Florida Board of Medicine and Board of Osteopathic Medicine approved a draft rule Friday to ban medical or surgical gender-affirming care for transgender individuals under 18.

The rule will now go through a weekslong approval process following the board's decision, which includes further public comment.

The decision would prohibit puberty blockers, hormones, cross-hormone therapy and gender-affirming surgery for people under the age of 18.

The boards disagreed on an exception for youth enrolled in Food and Drug Administration Institutional Review Board-approved, university-centered clinical research trials. The Board of Medicine struck the exception from the rule. The Board of Osteopathic Medicine retained the exception.

Members of the board, alongside the board attorney, had not seen this happen before, as the two boards would uphold different standards of care.

PHOTO: Trans flag
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This will not impact trans youth who are already receiving these treatments.

The treatments in question are used for those experiencing gender dysphoria -- when a person experiences emotional distress because of the misalignment between their sex at birth and their gender identity. Many national medical institutions, including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Public Health Association, say that gender-affirming care is safe and effective. Some, like the American Medical Association, even deem it "medically necessary."

Both sides in the public debate voiced their opinions in front of the medical board committee in the Friday hearing, as well as at a hearing last week.

The room was overwhelmingly in opposition of the rule, with outbursts occurring several times throughout the meeting.

Some attendees spoke about their personal experiences with gender-affirming care and the positive impact it had on their mental health and well-being or that of someone close to them.

Some expressed concerns about gender-affirming care, including hormonal therapy and gender-affirming surgery, and whether it would be irreversible. However, for those who have not yet gone through puberty or are undergoing puberty, the usage of "blockers" are often the first step in medical transition. These are known to be safe, temporary and reversible, according to the AAP.

Some also spoke about their regrets in accessing gender-affirming care.

This is not the first ban of its kind -- it follows similar restrictions in Arkansas and Alabama that prohibit physicians from providing or referring transgender youth for gender-affirming care. However, both are currently blocked due to court rulings.

This is the latest attempt in Florida under Gov. Ron DeSantis' administration to limit access to gender-affirming care for transgender people. As of Aug. 21, Medicaid no longer covers such care for trans people of all ages in the state.

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