Florida activists group worries for transgender youth future as state bans gender-affirming treatments
LBGTQ activist groups are concerned for Florida’s trans-youth after two Florida medical boards' decision last week in Buena Vista to ban gender-affirming therapies for minors.
The Florida Board of Medicine and the state Board of Osteopathic Medicine voted Friday to finalize rules banning gender-affirming health care for minors describing current therapies as "medically unproven and dangerous," including such treatments as puberty blockers, cross-hormonal treatment, and gender-affirming surgery.
However, groups including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Endocrine Society say gender-affirming care is not experimental or investigational.
Florida activist groups fear for transgender youth
The group Florida Rising strongly opposed the boards' joint decision and stated that gender-affirming therapies save lives.
Letitia Harmon, the Policy and Research Director for the activist group Florida Rising, says blocking such treatments is an attack on the LBGTQ community and will likely lead to more anguish from teens suffering from gender dysphoria.
"We know that trans individuals in Florida have particularly been under attack by Governor Ron DeSantis, by the Florida legislature, and now by these new board policies, this is increasing danger, particularly for trans and nonbinary youths," she said. “Suicidality is much higher within this community, removing these kinds of protections that we know studies have shown lowers suicidality now puts all of those teenagers and children at risk."
DeSantis words against gender-affirming therapy
DeSantis has on several accounts criticized gender-affirming treatments. Most recently, the governor brought the topic up during the gubernatorial debate in October stating that doctors were “chemically castrating young boys," and that "a lot of the dysphoria resolves itself by the time they become adults.”
The National Library of Medicine reports that 82% of transgender individuals have considered ending their lives at some point, and 40% have attempted suicide.
Harmon says those are numbers that can decrease with the right kind of support.
"The idea that we would just remove all support systems for someone who is going through that kind of transition and change is appalling to me. So I don't understand the logic behind it," Harmon said.
Correction: a previous version of this story listed "Letitia Harman," when it should have read "Harmon."