Doctors in Florida are no longer allowed to offer treatments like puberty-blocking medicines and “gender-affirming” surgeries to children under the age of 18.
The Florida Board of Medicine and the Florida Board of Osteopathic Medicine voted on Friday to adopt rules prohibiting doctors from using medical interventions like surgeries or certain medications to treat minors suffering from gender dysphoria.
The federal government defines “gender dysphoria” as “significant distress that a person may feel when sex or gender assigned at birth is not the same as their identity.”
These new rules were pushed by Florida Surgeon General Joseph Lapado, a man who recently made headlines for changing Florida’s COVID-19 vaccine guidance to state, “the State Surgeon General recommends against males aged 18 to 39 from receiving mRNA COVID-19 vaccines.”
Lapado said that the decision will “protect our children from irreversible surgeries and highly experimental treatments… I appreciate the integrity of the Boards for ruling in the best interest of children in Florida despite facing tremendous pressure to permit these unproven and risky treatments.”
#Transgender youth in Florida will be barred from receiving hormones or undergoing surgeries to treat gender dysphoria under rule approved by state medical officials at the urging of GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis. #LGBTQhttps://t.co/8FarYdHi4D
— David Crary (@CraryAP) November 4, 2022
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) publicly supported the bill and said, over the summer, “They don’t tell you what that is … They are actually giving very young girls double mastectomies, they want to castrate these young boys. Both from the health and children well-being perspective, you don’t disfigure 10, 12, 13-year-old kids based on gender dysphoria, 80% of it resolves anyways by the time they get older… So why would you be doing this?”
The federal government’s guidance continues to endorse puberty blockers and partially reversible hormone therapy for minors, but Lapado disagrees. He said, “The federal government’s medical establishment releasing guidance failing at the most basic level of academic rigor shows that this was never about health care. It was about injecting political ideology into the health of our children. Children experiencing gender dysphoria should be supported by family and seek counseling, not pushed into an irreversible decision before they reach 18.”
Opponents argue that the new rules put transgender youth at a higher risk of depression, anxiety, and suicidality and claim that Republicans in the state are using this as a political power move.
Proponents of the new rule simply want children to wait until they are cognitively developed enough to make a decision that will affect them for the rest of their lives.