Transgender Flag Being Waved – Courtesy: Shutterstock – Image by Ink Drop
On Friday, Florida’s medical board voted to start the process of banning gender-affirming medical treatment for minors, a move that comes as Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has continued to voice his opposition to such therapies.
After a public hearing that lasted over three and a half hours in Fort Lauderdale, the 15-member Board of Medicine voted to begin a process that prevents minors from undergoing surgical procedures as a treatment for gender dysphoria and starting hormone therapy. Gender dysphoria refers to the feelings of distress or discomfort transgender people feel when their bodies and gender do not align.
The board also made the decision to start that process for requiring adults seeking such care to undergo a waiting period of 24 hours before going forward with any of the said medical procedures.
The proposal was called a political stunt by Michael J. Haller, University of Florida Professor and Chief of Pediatric Endocrinology. He testified as an expert.
“This has been pushed to the board as a political maneuver,” Haller told the board members. “Trans people have always existed, they will always exist, whether you choose to acknowledge that or not.”
The Florida Department of Health, which asserted that there is insufficient study and evidence demonstrating the safety of such care, provided the direction the medical board followed.
Gender-affirming medical treatment for adults and adolescents is supported by both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association. However, according to medical professionals, surgery is rarely, if ever, a part of children’s gender-affirming care. In contrast, counseling, social transitioning, and hormone replacement treatment are more frequently advised by doctors.
The DeSantis administration’s newest move to strengthen regulatory oversight of gender-affirming care is the latest proposed rule. A rule that would prevent the treatment of transgender people from being covered by state-funded health care is also being considered by Florida’s Medicaid regulator.
DeSantis has publicly said that he opposes medical care for those going through a transition. He suggested that doctors who conduct gender-affirming surgical treatments should be sued and compared such therapy to castration during a press conference on opioid addiction earlier this week. As a result of the state attorney’s support for transition-related medical treatment, he also recently suspended Andrew Warren, Tampa’s senior prosecutor.
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