Ban on gender dysphoria treatments in Florida takes effect

'We're going to stand up for children,' state lawmaker says
Posted at 6:13 AM, Mar 16, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-16 09:16:57-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A controversial ban on gender-affirming medical care in Florida takes effect Thursday.

It's a concerning day for the transgender youth community in the Sunshine State, as the ban has many of them feeling like they're being singled out.

But several Republican lawmakers said they're just trying to protect children.

"They have a war on children and we're going to stand up for children," said Rep. Randy Fine, R-Palm Bay. "Boys are boys and girls are girls. We're not going to subscribe to this fictional nonsense that they've come up with. They're fighting against our children and we're going to fight back and we're going to beat them."

With this ban, doctors will no longer be allowed to prescribe puberty blockers, hormone therapy and surgeries to treat new patients younger than 18 for gender dysphoria.

Gender dysphoria is defined by the federal government as "significant distress that a person may feel when sex or gender assigned at birth is not the same as their identity."

For those patients who are already being prescribed those medications, they will be grandfathered in and allowed to continue with treatment.

Doctors who violate the new rule risk disciplinary action from the state's medical board, which can issue fines and revoke licenses.

Additional legislation against transgender people has been filed in Florida, including a ban that would prohibit telehealth providers from prescribing treatments for adults and cutting off public insurance coverage for the treatments.

That bill also grants a pathway for a parent who doesn’t support medical care for their child’s transition to challenge a custody agreement with a parent who does.

"I have a message for any of the lawmakers considering these bills," said Michael Riordan, with the Compass Community Center in Lake Worth Beach. "I know that you don't understand these issues. I know that you are questioning things. We would love to have a conversation with anyone to really come to common sense solutions."

According to a June 2022 report from the Williams Institute, an estimated 16,000 Florida teens — or about 1.32% of teens between the ages of 13 and 17 — identify as transgender.