A joint committee of the Florida Board of Medicine and the Florida Board of Osteopathic Medicine has voted in favor of new proposed guidelines that would ban gender-affirming care for minors, which would effectively force transgender minors in the state to de-transition.
The new rules proposed by Florida’s Health Department in April and backed by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) would prohibit gender-affirming surgical procedures which experts say are almost never performed on young people, medications like puberty blockers and hormone therapy, and “any other procedure that alters primary or secondary sexual characteristics for the treatment of gender dysphoria” for patients under 18. They would also institute a mandatory 24-hour waiting period for adults seeking gender-affirming care.
Gender-affirming care for both adolescents and adults has been endorsed by the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychiatric Association, and many other professional groups as necessary and frequently lifesaving for transgender individuals. Vice News reported in August that 10 researchers whose work was cited in Florida’s guidance say that their research was misrepresented or distorted to justify denying gender-affirming care.
Last week’s vote occurred after five hours of heated testimony, which Harvard Law Cyberlaw Clinic’s Alejandra Caraballo characterized as “stacked against trans youth.” Proponents of the ban were reportedly allowed to speak first, some making misleading and false claims. One doctor who testified in favor of the ban falsely claimed that 90% of trans youth de-transition.
The hearing was stacked against trans youth from the start. Despite local families and activists getting there first, 9 anti-trans folks testified first. After selectively filtering to give a 50/50 split after, the board closed the hearing early leaving many to not speak.
— Alejandra Caraballo (@Esqueer_) October 28, 2022
According to Common Dreams, public commentary was overwhelmingly against the ban.
“By proposing an alternative standard of care, Florida is ignoring the broad consensus among the medical community and the weight of peer-reviewed medical literature,” AAP president Dr. Moira Szilaygi said in written testimony. “We call on the Florida Board of Medicine to reject the call for the development of new standards of care and ensure that the existing evidence-based standards of care are allowed to be used to care for children and adolescents with gender dysphoria. Only by doing so will the health and well-being of children and adolescents with gender dysphoria in Florida be preserved.”
“Going on testosterone is the single best decision I have ever made in my life and that is not an exaggeration,” 15-year-old Yuri Tversky said in written testimony. “I am no longer suicidal. I can finally acknowledge and embrace the fact that I have a future, and a family that loves and accepts me for who I am. I don’t have to pretend to be someone else anymore. Until now. Until you.”
“Gender-affirming care saved my life at 16,” said Aaron Demlow. “Please do not take this vital care away from other young people like me.”
Retired social worker Susan Nasrani who counseled a transgender youth testified that “Having access to gender-affirming medical care kept this young person from deep depression and suicide.”
Despite this, the committee ended public comment early, telling opponents of the ban to email them. Queer activist Erin Reed called the proceedings “a sham hearing with fake experts.”
A dark day for trans youth.
Florida Board of Medicine has just voted to ban gender affirming care for all trans teenagers.
They cut the hearing early and told activists to "email them."
I cry for Florida's trans youth. This was a sham hearing with fake experts. pic.twitter.com/JORaHN4uFA
— Erin Reed (@ErinInTheMorn) October 28, 2022
Following the committee’s vote, the proposed guidance advances for a final vote by the state’s full medical boards on November 4.