Under Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, Florida’s health department made a case to bar transgender youth from receiving transitional or gender-affirming health care.
According to NBC News, DeSantis’ administration sent a letter last Thursday requesting that the Florida Board of Medicine, a state board that regulates doctors, ban transition-related care.
Hours earlier, the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) released a 46-page report detailing the justifications for blocking Medicaid coverage to transgender individuals of any age if they are seeking gender-confirmation surgery, hormone therapies or puberty blockers.
By having Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo, who oversees the state’s health department, request executive action from the Board of Medicine, DeSantis is able to go around the Legislature, speeding up the process of establishing a ban on gender-affirming health care. The board is technically independent of the state and has a 12-member group of physicians at the helm, but they are appointed by the governor and then confirmed by the Senate.
The conjoined effort allows DeSantis’ administration to act without legislative approval, which drew immediate dissent from both medical professionals and transgender activists.
NBC reported that many medical associations — the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Endocrine Society, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the World Professional Association for Transgender Health — oppose or have produced literature that guides opposition to the DeSantis administration’s position on transitional health care.
DeSantis has recently stated he would approve a ban on gender-affirming care for transgender children.
“There’s a concerted effort in society to push these kids in to do some type of medical intervention,” DeSantis told conservative podcaster Lisa Boothe.
Ashley Brundage, along with other critics of DeSantis’ move, said the denial of such health care is dangerous for transgender kids, who are already disproportionately affected by suicide.
Some who criticize DeSantis’ actions against transgender youth said the state of Florida doesn’t fully appreciate that the denial of puberty blockers and hormones is dangerous to the psychological welfare of transgender kids that are already disproportionately affected by suicide.
“I was a teenager. I wanted to transition. I didn’t have access to that care. And it almost killed me,” said Brundage, who is a transgender activist, founder and president of Empowering Differences and a board member with GLAAD, an LGBTQ advocacy group.
In March, President Joe Biden criticized Tex. Gov. Greg Abbott’s directive to have families who provide gender-affirming health care for their transgender children investigated by CPS.
“Affirming a transgender child’s identity is one of the best things a parent, teacher, or doctor can do to help keep children from harm, and parents who love and affirm their children should be applauded and supported, not threatened, investigated, or stigmatized,” Biden said.