JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Florida’s Board of Medicine is facing backlash from supporters of LGBTQ youth, who are calling out the board’s decision to move forward with a possible ban on transgender treatments for anyone 17 and younger.
The state’s Department of Health says there is not enough research that shows therapy or surgeries are safe.
Some parents are angry over Friday’s vote to begin the rule-making process for the state’s transgender youth seeking treatment.
“This will have devastating consequences on the mental and physical health of an already vulnerable community,” said Simone Chriss.
She’s the director of The Transgender Rights Initiative at Southern Legal Counsel and an advocate of LGBTQ rights.
She’s speaking out against a petition filed by the Florida Department of Health that seeks to ban underage patients from gender-reassignment surgery and taking hormone replacement therapy and other puberty blocking medications.
“We will fight for everyone’s right to access medically necessary health care regardless of what state you live in, regardless of your age,” she told First Coast News.
The board’s vote means it will receive more data on the effectiveness of those treatments as well as accepting public comment on the issue. No timeline has been given on when a final decision will be made.
In the petition, the DOH writes, there is “…no conclusive research to support the medical transition of children to the opposite gender.”
During a news conference last week, Governor Ron DeSantis said, “We’ve stood up and said both from the health and children well-being perspective, you don’t disfigure, 10, 12, 13-year-old kids based on gender dysphoria,” he said.
Part of the rules would also require transgender adults to wait 24 hours before having any procedure, and it would prohibit Medicaid from covering those treatments.
Chriss says a fight in the courts may be next.
“Whether that means we are able to convince the board of medicine to do the right thing in this rule making process or more likely challenging it with litigation afterwards,” she said.