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With LGBTQ+ rights in the crosshairs of conservative groups across the country, Florida is stepping up its crusade against transgender and gender non-conforming children and adults.
Gov. Ron DeSantis highlighted his administration’s anti-LGBTQ+ efforts Wednesday at a press conference in Brevard County. The conference focused on a new initiative to provide treatment for opioid addiction.
DeSantis said he intended to “protect children,” and with that, he launched into boasting about his administration’s recent anti-LGBTQ policies.
This includes the Florida Department of Health seeking to ban certain medical care for transgender children and adults. A similar policy was rejected in West Virginia this week in a federal ruling.
“One of the things they’re trying to do is talk about these very young kids who are getting gender-affirming care,” said DeSantis, which he says includes double mastectomy for girls and the ” castration” for boys.
Current medical guidelines do not recommend gender-affirming surgeries for children under the age of 18, and they are generally not eligible for surgical transition. Those seeking a medical transition could instead take drugs to delay puberty and replace certain hormones, which most major medical organizations, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, recommend for people with gender dysphoria.
“I think these doctors need to be prosecuted for what’s going on,” DeSantis said to cheers from his friendly audience.
What happens next? Mobilization
The Florida Board of Medicine will meet on Friday to decide what it will allow for people seeking transition-related medical care.
During the meeting, the council will also consider a petition the state health department filed last week asking the council to ban all transition-related medical care for children, including blocking drugs. puberty and hormone replacement therapy.
Both treatments are generally considered necessary and life-saving medical care by many people in transgender and gender non-conforming communities.
Several grassroots groups, including the Equality Florida and South Florida chapters of the Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus, are mobilizing to show the state that they will not allow leaders to disenfranchise them without a fight.
They will hold rallies just outside the Fort Lauderdale Airport Marriott in Dania Beach, where the Board of Medicine is meeting to hold workshops on standards of care for transgender and gender-nonconforming patients.
The council is composed of fifteen members appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate. He was stacked with anti-trans doctors, some of whom are affiliated with fringe anti-trans movements such as Genspect and the Society for Evidence-based Gender Medicine, known as SEGM.
The Board of Medicine will consider whether to continue to provide gender-affirming care for children and limit access for adults.
Wednesday, VICE News reported that a dozen researchers told the outlet they were unaware of an April memo and that the Florida Department of Health misrepresented the work of the 10 researchers to justify the denial of gender-affirming care to all minors in the state. VICE News has discovered that the 12 quotes presented by Florida against the use of gender-affirming skincare are either misrepresented or come from a clearly anti-trans source.
In writing the memo, the Florida Department of Health reverse-engineered a policy completely contrary to research-based medical best practices, VICE wrote.
The Florida Department of Health claimed in last week’s petition that the agency could not find evidence that treatments that can delay puberty are safe for children and called the treatments ” experimental”.
The department has accused the US Department of Health and Human Services, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Endocrine Society of misleading the public into believing treatments are safe because agencies support care. gender affirming for adults and teens.
The health department has asked the board of medicine to ban “sex reassignment surgery or any other procedure that alters primary or secondary sex characteristics for the treatment of gender dysphoria” for patients under 18. . This includes puberty blockers and hormone replacement therapy.
The health department has also suggested that adults seeking gender-affirming care must be approved by the board of medicine at least 24 hours before treatment is provided.
Finally, the department proposed to the board to guide physicians to withdraw hormone replacement therapy from their patients who are already receiving it — a move that would forcefully detransition transgender and gender non-conforming patients.
Biden’s protections for trans kids
Later, DeSantis referred to the conflict between the state and President Joe Biden’s administration over the protection of transgender children. He called his administration’s ban on trans-female athletes participating in school sports as “protecting the fairness and integrity of sport for our girls and female athletes.”
“However, Biden is now threatening to penalize states that have taken basic, common-sense steps, such as simply recognizing the importance of women’s sports,” he said, saying Biden’s administration had threatened to taking lunch money away from poor kids as punishment for transgender. athlete ban.
He has defended his opposition to the teaching of the American history of slavery and racism, as well as gender identity and sexual orientation in public schools, especially in the early grades.
“You teach reading, math, science, basic stuff, and you don’t teach gender ideology, CRT, sexuality in elementary schools,” he said. “So we’re very committed to that, when parents send their kids to school in Florida, it’s for an education, it’s not for indoctrination.”
Florida Phoenix Associate Editor Michael Moline contributed to this report.